Soaking it all in

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 4:22 PM ET


 With Lord Stanley's mug only four wins away, Brent Krahn couldn't think of a better way to end his first season as a pro.

 After splitting the season between the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL and the Lowell Lock Monsters and San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, the Winkler product is enjoying his vantage point during the Calgary Flames remarkable run to the Stanley Cup finals.

 Krahn, the Flames first round pick (ninth overall) in the 2000 NHL entry draft, has been up with Calgary as their third goalie since the fifth game of the opening round series against the Vancouver Canucks.

 'INCREDIBLE'

 And as the Flames get set to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, Krahn is trying to soak up all that he can.

 "It's been incredible to see the way all these guys handle the pressure," Krahn said in a telephone interview yesterday from the Ice Sports Forum practice facility in Tampa, Fla. "They are so composed out there and you can't help it, you just learn so much."

 Krahn says working with Flames goalie coach David Marcoux has been great and that Miikka Kiprusoff and Roman Turek have lent plenty of goaltending tips.

 It is common for Marcoux and Krahn to do extra work either before or after practice.

 "He sees things that I would never notice myself," said Krahn. "It's been so beneficial."

 Being around Kiprusoff on a daily basis during the playoffs has been another valuable resource for Krahn.

 "He's such an approachable and easy-going guy," said Krahn.

 "But he's a great competitor. His timely saves and his composure are a couple of things that I'm learning from him.

 "Nothing bothers the guy. You can run him over, score a goal on him, but you can't get him off his game. He's always relaxed and he believes in himself."

 During practices, Krahn has the tough task of trying to stop Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who leads all players with 10 goals during the playoffs and is tied for second in points behind Lightning forward Martin St. Louis.

 "Jarome is one of the best players in the league," said Krahn. "He's got a great shot, he's very accurate and he passes the puck well. It makes my game improve by having to stop a player of that calibre. I can feel myself getting better every day."

 One of the biggest things Krahn has noticed is the impact head coach and GM Darryl Sutter has on the Flames as a group.

 "He believes in his players and gets every ounce of talent out of every one of these players," said Krahn, who has bounced back from a series of knee injuries that threatened to derail his career before it began.

 "The big thing I see in this team is the team concept. Everyone plays for each other and they improve every time they step on the ice."

 The atmosphere in Calgary has been well chronicled but witnessing it in the Saddledome after the Flames ousted the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Western Conference final was quite another story.

 "The fans were going absolutely crazy, it was so loud in there," said Krahn. "There was so much emotion and the guys were so happy. I've never experienced anything like that in my life."

 If the Flames continue this run and become the first team to knock off four division leaders, Krahn will experience something else that he'll never forget, a chance to raise the Stanley Cup over his head.

 "That's the dream," said Krahn, who plans to spend much of the summer training in Calgary.

 "The guys have worked hard for it and it's going to be a great series."


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