SUN Hockey Pool

Krahn dreams of backup job

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:30 PM ET

Brent Krahn has felt the 'Dome rock. He played in front of some big crowds as a goalie for the Calgary Hitmen.

And he witnessed first-hand the madhouse it became during the Flames' run to the Stanley Cup final in 2004.

The 23-year-old netminder wants nothing more than to experience the bedlam again.

"I've had a lot of great times in the Saddledome and I'm looking forward to a lot more," said Krahn, who will be in a three-way battle to back up starter Miikka Kiprusoff when training camp kicks off in mid-September.

Krahn will battle Philippe Sauve, who went 7-7-3 with a 3.04 GAA and .896 save percentage with the Colorado Avalanche in 2003-04, and Calgary product Curtis McElhinney, who was 62-16-8 during his career at Colorado College.

Krahn was a black ace during the Flames' 2004 post-season run by and although he didn't come close to seeing game action, he said it was a learning experience nonetheless.

"It was a tremendous help for me to be around the guys during that time," Krahn said. "You could just see the focus and dedication it took for those guys to get through two months (of playoffs).

"It was a great experience for myself and I learned a lot from it.

"Guys were having fun but they were so focused. You look at a guy like Kipper, he was so calm and cool."

Not that Krahn, who's as laid-back as they come, needed to take pointers on how to remain cool under pressure.

"That's how I like to think of myself," he said. "During a game, no matter how things are going, I like to think I stay at that even keel.

"Whether I make a great save or let in a bad goal, I want to retain that focus and not let anything affect my play."

Krahn didn't let much affect his play last season as he posted a 20-11-2 record with a sparkling .923 save percentage with Calgary's AHL affiliate in Lowell.

"Things went really well for me," he said. "I played 35 games, which was more than the season before. Slowly but surely, I'm making those steps towards the NHL.

"I played for a great team in a real good league. It's pretty easy to develop in that kind of atmosphere because everyone is focused and the competition is excellent."

In a strange twist, Krahn was forced to share time between the pipes with Carolina Hurricanes first-rounder Cam Ward, a rival who used to board up the Red Deer Rebels' net.

"Cam and I became real good friends during the season," Krahn says. "It was kind of funny when you look back to the junior days when we played them quite a bit. But the hockey world is very small."

Krahn's development was accelerated, he said, by Flames goaltending coach David Marcoux, who was able to travel to Lowell throughout the lockout.

"He came in three or four times during the season and stayed for a week or so," Krahn said.

"We went over tape and focused on the little things to improve my game. It was beneficial to myself to have a man like Dave, with his expertise in goaltending, come down and point out little things I might not have seen."

Krahn said most of the wrinkles he ironed out had nothing to do with his mechanics.

"It wasn't so much physically, it was more mentally. The confidence and the approach to the game.

"With any athlete, confidence is such a huge part of the game."

While some may think Krahn could benefit from another year of seasoning in the AHL, the Flames' first-round pick in the 2000 draft said he's ready for the big leagues right now.

"In my mind, yes," he said when asked if he sees his name on the Flames' opening day roster.

"I feel I'm doing everything I can to get myself ready to be an NHL player.

"This is a big camp for myself to get ready to make that jump to the NHL. I'm focused on proving myself and making the team."


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