Our Aces in the whole

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:10 PM ET



 Calgary is not one of them.

 Defenceman Brennan Evans, winger Martin Sonnenberg and goaltender Brent Krahn comprise the Flames' taxi squad. And they're thankful for the experience because they know things could be a lot worse.

 They could be finished for the summer or treated as outcasts like Evans' former junior teammate Gerard Dicaire in Tampa.

 "I know a guy who's doing the same thing in Tampa Bay and he said he hasn't even seen the actual players," Evans says.

 "This is heads and tails above that. It will be huge for my confidence this summer and for next year."

 The highlight of Evans' experience so far was getting into the lineup for Games 3 and 4 against Detroit. After taking a 31-second shift in his NHL debut, the 22-year-old North Battleford, Sask., product was given 5:11 of ice time in the following game.

 Each team treats its healthy reserves differently. Some skate with the regulars and then stay out after practice for some extra work, as they do in Calgary.

 Some work out in isolation and never really feel like they're part of the team.

 Rearguard Mike Commodore began the post-season as a healthy scratch but was pressed into duty, along with Steve Montador, after injuries sidelined regulars Denis Gauthier and Toni Lydman.

 So Commodore knows what it's like on the other side of the fence. He sat and watched when he was a New Jersey Devil as the team went to the Cup final in 2001.

 "We had about seven guys (on the Black Aces) in New Jersey but it's a way better setup here," Commodore says.

 "In New Jersey, I never saw any of the players face-to-face for the entire playoffs and they went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. We were on our own."

 Krahn is grateful for the situation.

 The laid-back 'tender feels he fits in well with a team he hopes to join fulltime in the next year or two.

 "The players welcomed us and we feel like we're part of the team," says the Flames' first-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

 "We're incorporated into the drills in practice. We don't feel out of place at all.

 "It takes a lot of hard work to get here and I'm seeing it at a young age. The desire, the determination, the commitment that it takes to be in a spot like this."


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