Krahn pushing for backup spot

By Aaron Vickers

One would think after taking the loss in the opening preseason game by being beaten by Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Smyth in a sudden death shootout, Calgary Flames prospect goaltender Brent Krahn might be a little bitter about the new shootout format that will end deadlocked games.

But goaltenders are unpredicable. Krahn is no exception.

Despite losing via shootout on enemy turf, the 6’4, 212lb goaltender endorses the shootout.

“I think it should be brought into the game — it’s exciting,” exclaimed Krahn postgame. “Hate to lose though because it’s one on one and you got beat by another player and that player in that particular circumstance was better than you were. So it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s good for the game.”

Krahn paused and smiled.

“You saw how electrified the fans got, especially with Ryan Smyth coming in.”

And Krahn is right. After a deadlocked game which saw a 1-1 score holdup in overtime, seven shooters between the two teams were held goalless until ‘Captain Canada’ Ryan Smyth slid a backhanded deke between the legs of Krahn. The announced sellout crowd of 16,000-some fans exploded.

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Despite the overtime shootout loss, Krahn looked good in relief of starting goaltender Philippe Sauve. Sauve stopped all 17 shots he faced before giving way to Krahn, who stopped all but one shot he faced coming in midway through the second period. Stopping 13 of 14 shots and three of four shootout attempts, the native of Winnipeg, Manitoba was pleased with his performance.

“Sauve played a great game for us in the first half and gave us a real chance to win the game,” started Krahn. “To come in halfway through, you’ve got to keep yourself ready. There’s no excuses out there.”

If Krahn, 23, does not make the team out of camp, the former Calgary Hitmen goaltender will play with the new AHL Omaha AkSarBen Knights, taking the starting goaltender position for the first time since juniors. Recently he has had to share that spot in Lowell where the Calgary Flames had split the slots with the Carolina Hurricanes. Last season he went 20-11-2 with a .923 save percentage and 2.49 goals against.

But that’s not the goal that the former ninth overall selection in the 2000 draft has set for himself. His mission is make the Calgary Flames alongside starter Miikka Kiprusoff. With the signing of Sauve, though, it’s certainly making the competition heat up in Calgary. According to Krahn, there’s been no talk of splitting time in the pros with Sauve, and with the new rule stipulating that players have to clear waivers both when being sent down and called up, it’s a scenario that might not fly with the Flames.

“Play by ear,” said Krahn in regards to whether or not there were any plans on a split backup goaltender role with Sauve.

“I don’t know anything really, I’m just out here to win a spot and take it day by day. You’ve got to go out there and prove your worth that you can get out there at any moment because during the season injuries happen, something happens, so you can’t slip for a second.”

Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.