The Justin Pogge Era Ends in Toronto
I think The Sun buried the lead. They're reporting that the Leafs are done with Cujo, which I assumed was pretty obvious. Curtis Joseph is 42 years old. Several paragraphs deep into the Sun article is this little bombshell.
Burke has suggested that if Gustavsson, widely considered the best goaltender outside of the NHL, signs elsewhere, he will replenish the goaltending position via the draft or free agency, which begins July 1. It's expected that the Leafs won't retain restricted free agent Justin Pogge, one time the franchise's so-called goaltender of the future.
In April, I wrote Killing the Culture of Entitlement Means Pogge Has To Go in which I called Burke's shot. In hindsight, that entry was so totally awesome and accurate, I'm going to reproduce it below.
I'm as guilty as anyone. Justin Pogge was awesome during the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championship, and ever since we've been waiting for him to assume his role as Maple Leafs saviour. Here's the entry I wrote in January 2006 in which I opened with the following line. "I have seen the future of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey, and his name is Justin Pogge."
I have a great relationship with the Marlies PR people, and when I told them I wanted to meet Justin Pogge and ask him some questions, they quickly made it happen. He was the only Marlie I wanted to meet. Who wouldn't want to meet the future of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey?
I was there during the low points and the high points. It's been a roller coaster ride with peaks and valleys. When I learnt he was benched for the final playoff game of the season in Winnipeg, I responded with this tweet.
Pogge didn't get the start tonight.... it's Munro starting for the Marlies in the Peg. Whoa, methinks the Pogge era has grinded to a halt.
For the second season in a row, Greg Gilbert passed over Pogge at playoff time. Pogge's NHL record this season was abysmal. There's a reason we picked up Gerber... Pogge isn't anywhere close to being an NHL starting goaltender.
I want to believe, I really do, and that's the problem. There's a culture of entitlement with this franchise that Ron Wilson and Brian Burke are working hard to destroy, and that means Pogge has to go. I hate that this has to happen, but it's for the best.
It's time to get Jonas Gustavsson to compete with Vesa Toskala for the Leafs spot. James Reimer is ready to play with Adam Munro with the Marlies. The Justin Pogge era has indeed ground to a halt.
I'm going to miss rooting for Justin Pogge at Marlies games. My son is going to be devastated. I sincerely hope he catches on with another team and makes us rue the day we let him go.
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