December 22, 2011

Pogge back in NHL, Pirates need goalie

Justin Pogge is heading back to Phoenix to serve as a backup after Mike Smith is injured.

By Paul Betit
Staff Writer

Portland Pirates goalie Justin Pogge is racking up frequent-flier miles during the team's Christmas break.

Pogge flew across country Tuesday night from the Los Angeles area, where he was spending the break, to rejoin the parent Phoenix Coyotes in Raleigh, N.C.

The call-up came two days after the Coyotes reassigned Pogge to their AHL affiliate after he spent the weekend in Phoenix as the backup to Mike Smith in Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

The Coyotes made the move after Smith was injured during Tuesday night's 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers. Jason Labarbara, who was Smith's backup for the game, was in the nets for the final 16 minutes.

"We aren't sure how long Mike will be out right now, so we don't know how long Justin would be here, but should have a better idea in the next few days," Coyotes assistant general manager Brad Treliving wrote in an email.

Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said his team still hasn't made a move to fill Pogge's spot on the roster.

"We're on break now, and we have four or five days before we have to worry about that," Edwards said. "We'll see what (the Coyotes) do after Friday night's game."

Following Wednesday night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Coyotes were scheduled to fly home to prepare for Friday night's game against the St. Louis Blues.

The next game for the Pirates is scheduled for Monday night against the Worcester Sharks at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The 6-foot-3, 197-pound Pogge has appeared in seven games with the Pirates this season, posting a record of 3-2-2-0 with a 3.22 goals-against average and a .891 saves percentage.

Last season, Pogge appeared in 48 AHL games with the Charlotte Checkers, registering a 22-18-1-4 record with a 3.12 goals-against average and a .907 saves percentage.

Pogge originally was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round in 2004.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH


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