CALGARY -- Mikael Tell qvist sent a message of congratulations to Team Canada's goal-medal goalie Justin Pogge on Thursday night, knowing full well that in a couple of years, they might be competing for the same job with the Maple Leafs.
"I watched him in the first period, went for dinner and then saw the last 10 minutes of the third," Tellqvist said, who got to know Pogge at Leafs training camp. "He really played well in the first period. I sent him a message and I hope he had a good time after the game."
Tellqvist also is well aware that the world junior tournament's all-star team goalie is another hot Leafs prospect, Tuukka Rask of Finland. So when Ed Belfour departs, either next year or by 2007-08, Tellqvist will not be alone challenging for the throne.
WISH THEM WELL
"It doesn't matter what situation you're in, there will always be good goaltenders (competing) with you," Tellqvist said. "Maybe it's a little extreme because Pogge played really well and Tuukka Rask was named best goaltender, but good for them. You can't wish anything (bad) on them, you just have to look after yourself and control your own destiny."
Tellqvist, who will be 27 by the start of next season, has helped his own cause by giving the Leafs the backup netminding they lacked and not rocking the boat when he sits for extended periods. His record this season is 5-3-1 with a .919 save percentage and he could be in action again tonight against the Edmonton OIlers.
"My contract's up and I want to stay in Toronto," Tellqvist said. "Hopefully I continue to play well the rest of the season and this team can go far."
Leafs coach Pat Quinn flew to Vancouver on Thursday to watch the game with the Hockey Canada crowd and made it back to Calgary around 1:30 a.m. yesterday.
"It's amazing, a credit to our scouts and to young Pogge, who dramatically improved the past year," Quinn said.
"He wasn't even on the radar screen a year ago and he has put up some great numbers. He has matured a great deal. He's more than just a good prospect."
But Quinn isn't going to worry about a future goaltending dilemma just yet.
"We'll look at that when the time comes," he said. "They're all busy doing the jobs they have to do right now. (Pogge and Rask) have a wonderful future in front of them and so does Telly."