Brent Krahn looks for a team to lead

By Aaron Vickers








They say that you should keep your friends close, and your enemies even
closer. Calgary Flames goaltending prospect Brent Krahn prefers to simply keep
them off the scoresheet. It was exactly what he did in an
appearance for the Flames as the Calgary rookies headed north on
Highway 2 to do battle with their arch-enemies, the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers and Flames tangled for what could possibly be the only time
this season with prospects, rookies and hopefuls suiting up for both
squads. While the Edmonton Oilers squad boasted a pair of 2004 first
round selections in Devan Dubnyk and
Robbie Schremp, it was a modest
Flames line-up that lunchpailed their way, in typical Calgary fashion,
to the win.

After falling behind 3-0 after one period, the Calgary Flames could bring the score no closer
then 4-1 when it was time for Calgary’s ninth overall selection in
2000, and only one of three professionals the Flames had suited up, to
go to work.

As part of a planned goaltending change, the Calgary Flames substituted
Brent Krahn for starting goaltender Davis
Parley
at 10:34 of the second period. The native of Winkler,
Manitoba knew he had his work cut out for him as he stepped on the ice.

“In the first, the guys were really sitting back on their heels,”
explained Krahn of his club’s lackluster start. “We gave up a lot of
shots and Parley had to do a lot of work, and he did a great
job for us. He kept it close. The game could’ve really gotten out of
hand if he wasn’t there for us.”

While the Flames came out stronger in the second frame, it wasn’t until
Krahn stood between the pipes that an aura of confidence began to swarm
the Flames.

After Moose Jaw Warrior forward Dustin
Boyd
had scored moments before Krahn’s arrival to the ice, the
Flames, and Boyd in particular, exploded. In fact, Boyd, the games
first star, added to his goal by notching another two marks, scoring on
a five-hole breakaway goal and adding a goal on a turnover in front of
the Oiler net 22 seconds later to complete his natural hat trick.

With the help of Boyd’s hat trick and singles from Cam Cunning and Jamie Tardif the Flames rookies
pulled the wool over the Oilers rookies eyes. It was not
without the help of Krahn that the Flames battled back from a 4-0
deficeit. Always one to pass on the credit, the former Calgary Hitmen
goaltender was quick to spread the acclaim with his fellow teammates.

“Once
the halfway point came in, I mean, I thought
we showed a lot of guts and a lot of character the way we battled
back,” recounted Krahn. “It was tough to see pucks tonight, but the
defense did a great job in front of me clearing rebounds, with good
communication back there.”

“I think as the game wore on the guys got better, but the more intense
you play, it brings out the best in people, it shows what your
character is all about and shows the type of person you are,” Krahn
told Hockey’s Future after the game. “To show up and play a game like
this and beat (the Oilers) 5-4 its a big character win and shows a lot
about the guys in this dressing room and how hard they work.”

“They really made my job a lot easier.” added the Flame.

Although Krahn was quick to credit the victory as a team effort, his 18
saves on 18 shots certainly played a role. Although completely shutting
out the Oilers, who finished with 49 shots on the evening, Krahn was
more interested in talking about beating the Edmonton Oilers then his
absence in the game’s three stars, named by the Edmonton Journal’s Jim
Matheson.

“Any time you can beat the Edmonton Oilers,” paused Krahn with a huge
grin on his face, "there’s a big rivalry here, you know, and I’m sure
they feel the same way over in that dressing room. It’s a great rivalry
to watch and an even better one to play in, and it’s an honor to be a
part of this.”

Honors are nothing new for Brent Krahn, whose head perked and eyes
become alive with the mention of the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs,
something that he was lucky enough to be a part of for the Calgary
Flames. Krahn served as the Flames third-string goaltender for the
playoffs, and despite not dressing for the ‘second season’, the
experience alone is something he won’t soon forget.

Krahn wasn’t just along for the ride, however, as the Flames managed to
accomplish becoming the first Canadian team in the Stanley Cup Finals
since the Vancouver Canucks fell to the New York Rangers in 1994. The
Flames, hoping that the experience would help Krahn, were
successful in that aspect.

“You soak up so much,” said Krahn, who practiced with the club every
day. “I mean, you look at a guy like Miikka Kiprusoff who was just so
composed and so relaxed and plays such a simple, great game. The team
has a lot of confidence in him, and Roman (Turek) and to see how the
team just communicates and how they work together, it’s a team working
there.”

If the goal for the Calgary Flames was to light a fire underneath their
top goaltending prospect, the mission has been accomplished. He has some lofty
plans for next season.

“(I want) to go out there and lead a team to a championship,” expressed
Krahn. “It’s something I really want to add to my repertoire, to go out
there and be known as a winning goaltender, and that’s what I want to
go out there and prove this season.”

Where Krahn will do this, though, is an interesting question.

The Calgary Flames share an American Hockey
League affiliate, the Lowell Lock Monsters, with the Carolina Hurricanes. With the Hurricanes set to
contribute former Red Deer Rebels goaltender Cam Ward, that leaves one spot on
the club for a plethora of Flames goaltending hopefuls, Krahn being one
of them. Perhaps his stiffest competition will come with Calgary’s
freshest face, Sebastien Centomo,
signed as an unrestricted free agent after the Toronto Maple Leafs
failed to qualify him. Centomo spent last season with the St. John’s
Maple Leafs, playing in 39 games and registering a 13-17-4 record with
a 3.15 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.

“You know, I can’t control what signings go on or what happens,” Krahn
bluntly stated. “I just have to worry about myself and try to take a
job. I mean, that’s what I’m here for, to take a job. I’ve got to make
an impression.”

The fact that the Flames will be sharing an American Hockey League
affiliate for the second straight season doesn’t have Krahn’s stomach
in knots, though. In fact, it will come as no surprise to the 6’4 giant
if he sees significant time in several different organizations, a
similar fate as last season, when he skated
for three different organizations.  He played 14 games with the ECHL’s Las
Vegas Wranglers, and 7 more with the Lowell Lock Monsters before being
loaned out to the San Antonio Rampage, the Florida Panthers affiliate, for another 14 games.

“Well, that’s why my helmet is still white!” laughed Krahn when asked
about his travels over the course of the 2003-04 hockey season. “I’m traveling around seeing so much of the United States and Canada and
playing with a lot of different guys and learning a lot of different
systems. I mean, it was really beneficial for me to do that. At times,
you know, I won’t lie, it was tough, but it brought out the character in
me and you’ve got to work through stuff like that. There aren’t any excuses.”

But when asked directly if a split affiliation has bothered the
goaltender, who has struggled to see regular minutes the last three
seasons, the WHL graduate shrugged the thought of sharing the net off.

"I missed a couple of years because of my
knee surgery,” reminded Krahn. “Just to play is what I wanted. I didn’t
really care where I was playing as long as I was seeing rubber and
feeling healthy. I mean, I started the season in the ECHL and then up
to the AHL, and even ended my season up in the NHL. It’s funny how it
works if you just work hard and never give up!”

Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future.  Do not duplicate without permission of
the editorial staff.