Flames goalie soars

Calgary Flames netminder Brent Krahn stares down Florida Panthers' Drew Larman last night at the...

Calgary Flames netminder Brent Krahn stares down Florida Panthers' Drew Larman last night at the 'Dome. Krahn made 36 saves in a 3-1 victory. (Calgary Sun/Stuart Dryden)

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

Playing the first pre-season game of the year naturally means high emotions.

For Flames goaltender Brent Krahn, though, last night's clash came with an extra perk.

Minding the twine at the other end was Eddie Belfour, the sure-fire Hall of Famer and Krahn's childhood idol.

"Eddie the Eagle is my guy growing up," said Krahn after a 36-save performance in his team's 3-1 win at the Saddledome.

"I had his hockey cards, when I was a kid, pasted on my wall, posters, everything. It was a dream come true tonight to play against Eddie Belfour. I tried to keep the nerves in check. It was awesome to be on the same ice."

Despite the generation gap, Krahn and Belfour have ties beyond their willingness to stop pucks. Both hail from Manitoba towns little more than a few slapshots apart -- Krahn from Winkler and Belfour from Carman -- and have crossed paths on occasion.

They were part of the same group at Vladislav Tretiak's goalie camp a few years ago and met just before Krahn was drafted, when he ventured to the Stanley Cup finals as a top draft prospect while Belfour and the Dallas Stars were in the hunt for the title.

"He may know me but if you run the name by him, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't remember," Krahn said, laughing.

Actually, Belfour did.

"I've met him, he's a nice kid," said the Eagle, who played half the game and surrendered all three Flames goals. "He looked good out there, made some nice stops."

Which is what Krahn must do to earn the shot he has been awaiting so long. Drafted in the first round in 2000 at the Saddledome while playing for the WHL Hitmen, it's been a long climb not yet completed.

And, barring injury to Miikka Kiprusoff or Jamie McLennan, it's likely Krahn will start the year in the AHL again, given the No.-1 reins with the Omaha Knights.

"Everybody's got their own path to the NHL. You can't force your way. Pay your dues and work hard," Krahn said philosophically.

Flames head coach Jim Playfair praised the game's first star.

"A lot of pucks hit him, so he was in good position whether he was seeing the pucks or didn't see the pucks," Playfair said. "He did a really good job with his positioning, he got some good whistles for us."

Chuck Kobasew, Dustin Boyd and Carsen Germyn scored for the Flames, who next return to pre-season action tomorrow when Vancouver comes calling.

Olli Jokinen replied for Florida.

ICE CHIPS: The Flames re-assigned seven more junior-aged players yesterday: Goalie Leland Irving, defencemen Gord Baldwin, Myles Rumsey and Matt Pelech and forwards Daniel Ryder, Brett Sutter and J.D. Watt.


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