Pogge could be back

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Rookie goaltender Justin Pogge has been reassigned to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.

Pogge, 22, was recalled Dec. 21 from the Marlies and made his NHL debut the following day at Atlanta. The native of Fort McMurray, Alta. made 19 saves in the Leafs' 6-2 road victory.

There had been speculation that the Leafs would keep the club's first choice (90th overall) in the 2004 entry draft for a while longer as both starting goaltender Vesa Toskala and veteran backup Curtis Joseph have struggled as of late.

President and general manager Brian Burke has said the Leafs do plan to have a long look at Pogge to see what he can do at the NHL level.

Pogge made 28 saves yesterday, helping the Marlies to a 4-1 win over the Manitoba Moose.

BIG NIGHT FOR PAVEL

Maple Leafs defenceman Pavel Kubina suited up for his 700th career NHL game last night. He has played 531 for the Tampa Bay Lightning and 169 for the Leafs. Heading into last night's game, he had 90 goals and 198 assists for 288 points.

THE FANS KEEP COMIN'

The Caps have proven that winning brings fans to the games. Attendance at the Verizon Center is up 33.3% from last seeason and Washington has averaged 17,861 fans per game with six sellouts. At home, the Caps have the best home record in the Eastern Conference at 14-1-1 and have outscored opponents 59-31 at the Verizon Center.

SHOTS GALORE

The Leafs continue to throw pucks at the net, averaging 32.4 shots per game, good enough for third place overall in the NHL. (The Detroit Red Wings lead the way with 36.3). Toronto also has the fifth fewest shots against per game this season, averaging only 27.9. (The Los Angeles Kings have allowed the fewest shots per game, at 26.2).

GARTNER GOES UP

Former Washington Capitals great, and ex-Leaf, Mike Gartner was honored last night at the Verizon Center with his No. 11 retired to the rafters, becoming only the fourth Cap to be given that honor, along with Rod Langway, Dale Hunter and Yvon Labre. The Caps skated out for the warmup last night in white retro jerseys with the No.11 on the back and then wore white uniforms -- as Gartner's teams did at the Capital Center -- during the game. Gartner ranks second in franchise history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789).

The Leafs remained in their dressing room during the ceremony, coming out only during the actual raising of the sweater.


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