Familiar territory

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:39 PM ET

Brent Krahn found being restricted wasn't all bad.

Krahn spent last season in the AHL using the format that restricts where goalies can play the puck, which will be implemented into the NHL this season. And he has no complaints.

"It really makes it lot easier to play the puck because you've only got that section to play it in," said the Calgary Flames netminder drafted in the first round in 2000. "You don't have to worry about wandering or being caught out of your net.

"You don't have those instances where you have to decide to play that puck in the corner, you just have to worry about what's behind your net and that's it. On the flip side, it's tough for the defencemen."

Among the many rule changes brought in with the resumption of the NHL are several that affect the netminders. Equipment will be reduced in size -- the main one is leg pads can no longer be more than 11 in. wide -- shootouts will be implemented to decided games tied after overtime and then there's the restriction on where goalies can play the puck. The area allowed is a trapezoid fanning out from just outside the crease to 28 ft. wide along the end boards. No pucks below the goal-line can be played outside the area.

Krahn said the change is harder on defencemen.

"There's a lot more foot races to the corner, the goalie can't just come out and play the puck away out of the zone," said Krahn, who spent last season with the Lowell Lock Monsters.

"When the forwards are pursuing the defenceman trying to get that puck, the defenceman has to take that extra look over his shoulder."

However, let it be known Krahn describes his puck-handling skills as "average to less-than-average."

"For a guy like Rick DiPietro or Marty Turco, guys like that who play the puck well and are good skaters able to get that puck in the corner and move it quick, it'll be much more confining for them," he said. "But for goalies who can't control the puck, well, their job is much more defined."

Playing the puck outside the area is a two-minute penalty.

As for the restrictions on equipment, Krahn is taking it in stride.

"This is where a big goaltender might have a bit of an advantage," said the 6-ft. 4-in. twineminder. "It will reduce size but you're still big enough to try getting in the way. It will make a difference with styles, though. I think you might see goaltenders challenging a bit more."

What has him excited is the decision to use shootouts to decide games tied after overtime. Among his highlights last season was a shootout win over Hartford, in which he posted a shutout and stopped all 13 shots he faced in the final session.

"I know there's the argument of having a team game decided by individuals, which I can see but I think it's entertaining," he said. "I know I love winning 'em.

"Everybody loves that one-on-one battle. I know I love watching them on TV. It gets the adrenaline going."

Currently, a couple of aspects in his life have Krahn excited. He and wife Marcia are expecting their first child in a little more than a month ("We just finished the nursery," he reported) while Flames training camp is roughly seven weeks away.

Although Krahn is likely ticketed to be the No.-1 man for Calgary's expansion farm team in Omaha, the possibility Roman Turek may not return from Europe may give him an even better chance of cracking the NHL roster. Krahn, who posted a 2.49 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and a 20-11-2 record with six shutouts last season, is trying not to get too far ahead with possibilities.

"I can't be worrying about what Roman decides to do. I'm just trying to get myself in the best mental and physical state to go in there, perform and prove I can contribute to the Calgary Flames," he said.

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ICE CHIPS: Turek's status isn't the only one up in the air. Starting netminder Miikka Kiprusoff is a restricted free agent, who is one year away from becoming unrestricted. His agent, Larry Kelly, said he and Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter will meet in the coming days to begin negotiating a new pact. "We had a couple of discussions and we're going to meet again this week when he's in Ottawa for the draft," Kelly said. Kiprusoff received a one-year deal worth $2.95 million US for the 2004-05 season that wasn't. Counting the rollback, he'll be qualified at $2.242 million US but the club will be looking for a longer-term deal. "Miikka just loves Calgary. I don't think it'll be any issue," Kelly said. "Darryl's a class guy and, as always, he'll do a good job. Hopefully we'll be able to work something out."


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