In the third episode of the PuckDrop Europe podcast, we visit with HC Slovan Bratislava's new goalie, Justin Pogge, who’s playing in his fifth country as a professional. He speaks about the journey that has taken him all the way from Canada to Slovakia, and places like Ritten/Renon (Italy), Karlskoga, and finally two classic hockey cities; Karlstad (Sweden) and Bratislava (Slovakia).
Pogge became a huge fan favourite among the Färjestad supporters in "the Wolfpack", something he confirmed was a mutual feeling during our chat. He won the SHL save of they Year 2015 after this ridiculous sequence:
Justin offered some insight about being a goalie with his comment: "The longer you play [goalie], the crazier you get!" and showed off his patented laugh while saying it.
After a swipe at the Toronto media, he had a few encouraging words when I brought up Zach Fucale "I know my first year wasn't that great. There's always an adjustment period... It's all about confidence and having [your] team believe in you."
When asked how KHL is as a hockey league Pogge did an honest take and explained carefully: "You see a caliber of player where a lot of guys playing in the KHL could be playing in the NHL, but choose to play in their own country and probably make more money. There are top tier teams, that are usually in the good cities, and have the most money. I think the top tier teams could make the playoffs in the NHL." He also considered KHL more of a grind because the travel schedule and the numerous time zones.
In the end he spoke warmly about his friend and former captain; Magnus Nygren: "One of the best captains I've ever had. He's a little kid at heart, but takes the game very seriously."
Unfortunately I was recording this podcast in an Cafe in Gothenburg, and there’s some background noise that I have not been able to reduce (without distorting my own voice too much). I apologize for the distraction, and I promise the screaming child goes away after a few minutes.