April 26, 2009

The Justin Pogge Era

It's over. Before it even really began, it's over.

In the biggest game of the season, with the fate of the Toronto Marlies hanging in the balance, Justin Pogge, the "future" between the pipes for the Toronto Maple Leafs, found himself on the bench. Adam Munro got the start. He played well, but it wasn't enough. The Marlies are joining the Leafs on the greens.

These were the playoffs for Justin Pogge to send a message to Brian Burke and co. A message that he can be trusted; that he can carry the torch. Well, Pogge sent a message, alright; he doesn't have the goods. He doesn't even deserve to be Vesa Toskala's back-up next season.

If Pogge's still the future in the crease in Toronto, the future isn't too fucking bright.

Here's hoping the Vancouver Canucks win the Stanley Cup, Roberto Luongo tests the free agent market in July 2010, and becomes a Maple Leaf after Burke offers him a boatload of money and a key to the city.

Toronto needs a God damn goalie. And it ain't Pogge ...


general borschevsky said...

Wow. Can't believe Gilbert chose to sit Pogge in a game with the season on the line. Now Pogge gets to think all summer about how when his team had their backs up against the wall they went with someone else. That's really going to help his confidence. In a do or die, game where they needed a goalie to shut the door, they didn't even give Pogge the chance. What a disaster for the Leafs goaltending situation.

eyebleaf said...

You pretty much nailed it right there, General.

I'm wondering how much micro-managing Burke does, and whether he "OK'd" the move to bench Pogge. I imagine he lets Gilbert make those decisions, and doesn't meddle, but I'm still curious to know his reaction.

A disaster, indeed.

Anonymous said...

I watched a few of those games and our prospects clearly got owned by the moose. I think if Pogge was expected to outplay the AHL goalie of the year and single handedly win the series....then maybe expectations were a little too high.

eyebleaf said...

Anon, I listened to the game last night, and the Marlies were outplayed, and out-shot, badly.

I wasn't expecting Pogge to outplay the AHL goalie of the year and single-handedly win the series. I was, however, expecting him to be in between the pipes for the entire series.

He's been benched two years in a row in the AHL playoffs. I don't know if there's an attitude issue, but that can't bode well.

If the Marlies lose, and he goes down fighting, great. But he's got to be in there.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, I meant from an organizational view. It just seems an odd decision to bench the kid when everyone is watching. They're constantly setting him up for failure and then throwing him under the bus. This guy is ruined now for sure. The Pogge era is definately over.

JaredFromLondon said...

I just don't get all the Pogge hate because he didn't play.
Was he the one who benched himself? I'm pretty sure he wanted to be in there.
This is all on Gilbert, putting a goalie who hasnt played in weeks against a very good team in the most meaningful game of the year is never a good idea.

Scott said...

Pogge is a bag-of-holes, he never had what it takes... just a victim of the Toronto hype-machine.

Kavel Pubina said...

I just hope we get this Gustavsson guy. Either that, or attempt to trade for Dustin Tokarski.

LEAFER said...

A key point that must be kept in mind is that the goalie is the most susceptible on a team that battles through high turnover from call-ups, injuries and new additions. Established roles, structures and disciplines were continuously altered with this Marlies team throughout the regular season and into their playoff. In the recent playoff, Pogge struggled with this the most because his few errors and lack of unconscious brilliance were all captured on the scoreboard. That said, it was wrong to sit him when less then a month ago he went into Manitoba and won two back to back must win games.

Put him on a team that doesn’t make mistakes, he will be unstoppable. Put him on a worse team that makes the same mistakes and he would still be quality. With the 2009 Marlies, Pogge is on a team with a high turnover of players that enables the opposition to do what they want, when they want with the puck. Pogge has zero chance, as would any keeper, and that is what Pogge faced this year with the Marlies and with the Maple Leafs.


eyebleaf said...

Anon: The Leafs ruined another prospect. Shocking!

Jared: He didn't bench himself, obviously, but his play dictated that he not be in there. Gilbert obviously doesn't have confidence in Pogge, and hates Pogge. He played well in the first three games, and then stunk it up from then on out. That's why there's a coach; to pull a guy out of the lineup who isn't contributing.

Scott: Chalk another one up for the Toronto hype machine. It's pretty epic, that machine.

Pubina: It would be nice to see Gustavsson in camp to challenge Toskala for that number one spot. Toskala doesn't deserve to have it handed to him, that's for sure. And you just won your way into the heart of Wrap Around Curl.

Leafer: Great comment. At the end of the day, Pogge didn't have a 90% save percentage with a playoff team in the Marlies. His save percentage in the few games he played in Toronto is so pathetic that I don't even want to bring up his profile and look at it.

Honestly, I'd rather the coaching staff had kept him in the lineup for game 6 last night. At least let him try to force a game 7. The fact that he was on the bench tells me that the Leafs are not sold on this kid, and likely never will be. For shame.

Anonymous said...

Smiths reference!

Anonymous said...

But why replace him, if he got you there. The reverse of this is, now they can't hang this on him.

The coach made an odd decision, and the coach likely has to wear it. If the Marlies had won he would have looked like a genius, but they lost so who knows what the result would have been otherwise.

Just being the contrarion.

Pension Plan Puppets said...

I think that this says way more about what a terrible mistake it is to have Greg Gilbert behind the bench. If Brian Burke isn't micro-managing this situation then he is.

Also, I'd love to know how you decide which Leafs to support unconditionally and which to throw under the bus at every opportunity. I went to game 4 and games 5 and 6 sounded pretty similar. The Marlies got absolutely owned. Not sure if a goalie not being able to lead what was essentially a 16 seed to an upset over the 1 seed means that he is done. Not that he is the answer but...

Anonymous said...

I see you finally agree with me....good


eyebleaf said...

Anon: I love a good contrarian.

PPP: I think I like the fact that Burke isn't micro-managing. Gilbert's the coach. The coach gets to make those decisions.

And, as for my logic, it's pretty simple: results. You're obviously insinuating Sundin with your comment. While you continue to hate on the guy who re-wrote the Toronto Maple Leafs record book, I hate on the guys who simply don't, and can't, get the job done. See: Raycroft, Andrew; Toskala, Vesa; and Pogge, Justin.

My unconditional support for Sundin comes from the fact that from day one of putting on that Leafs sweater, he produced. Game in and game out. Every. Single. Night.

Keep hating, irrationally, on Mats. I'll continue to do the same with our slutty goalies.

Bhatti: It's rare when it happens. Enjoy it.

Pension Plan Puppets said...

Burke should be micro-managing because the point of the Marlies isn't to pad Gilbert's resume it's to develop players. When he, for the second consecutive playoffs, makes a move that does nothing but hurt the development of a prospect then he needs to either be told what to do or fired.

I hate on the guys who simply don't, and can't, get the job done.That's obviously not true or you'd hate Kaberle more, you would have hated Jason Blake last season, you would have been killing White before the season started, and you'd hate a lot more of the Leafs this year. There is a certain logic I guess in that Mats can do no wrong and Pogge can do no right but after that there isn't too much to tie in how you feel about the rest of the players.

eyebleaf said...

But if said prospect doesn't deserve to be in the lineup, shouldn't that come before his "development"? I get the feeling there's more to the story than just "I went with Munro b/c Pogge wasn't playing well." Who benches their goalie down 3-2 in a series in which said goalie's team has, as you rightly pointed out, been outplayed? Something doesn't add up.

PPP, I was the first to admit that Kaberle had a brutal, brutal season. The worst of his career. He wasn't the Kaberle of old.

I never had a problem with Jason Blake. He put up 52 points his first season in Toronto; worth $4 million? It can be debated, but I'd say yes. Was he brought in to score? Yes. Did he? No. But that doesn't mean he "didn't get the job done." After all he went through, a 50 point season was pretty impressive to these eyes.

And, from day one, I've never had an issue with Ian White. Our good friend MF37 can back me up on that one; the two of us couldn't understand where all the hatred for that guy came from.

I hate shitty goalies. That's really the crux of my argument.