KEEP KRAHN AND CARRY ON
With Reto Berra still in Sochi and Karri Ramo on the shelf with a sprained MCL, the Flames needed a couple goaltenders for their first practice back after the Olympic break. Joni Ortio was recalled from the Abbotsford Heat, as expected, so that left the team on the hunt for just one 'tender.
Teams will often use local college or university goalies to fill a hole in practice but if schedules don't align, that falls by the wayside.
So the Flames turned to a familiar face; Brent Krahn.
The Flames first round pick in 2000 still resides in Calgary, working in the oilfield industry, and was happy to jump in for his former team.
"I got out there and didn't know what to expect, didn't really move off my goal line. Things didn't actually go too bad. I had a lot of fun. I think the guys took it pretty easy on me. I think they tried to make me look good too, shot to my glove-hand side a little bit," he chuckled. "That was pretty much about it. I just kept it simple."
In his post-practice scrum with the media, Bob Hartley dubbed Krahn the first star of the skate and exempted him from skating drills at the end of the session, which worked out perfectly for the 31-year-old.
"That was plan all along - to do the minimal amount of skating as possible and try to keep the puck out of the net about 60 per cent of the time," he grinned.
Krahn's last professional game came in the 2010-11 season when he was with the Dallas Stars organization, playing for the Texas Stars, so being able to jump back into a practice at this level was an extraordinary experience for the retired goalie.
"It was unreal. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I stepped on the ice with the guys," he said. "It was great to be out there, to be honest with you. You realize what you took for-granted your whole hockey career. You were paid to stay in shape and practices were tough but you could handle them. Now, not really doing anything for three and half years, getting out there in a tempo'd practice ... the guys were obviously having a tough go because they haven't been on the ice in so long but they pick it up quicker than I would."
GLENCROSS MOVING ALONG, RAMO NOT ON THE ICE YET
Prior to practice getting underway, Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain) hit the ice with his teammates for a light skate.
"It's part of the plan. He's at the stage that we call public skating right now," Hartley said. "He feels better. Obviously not good enough to be skating with the team. But whenever you see a player on the ice, you know they're progressing."
Ramo suffered a sprained MCL before the Olympic break and at the moment, the team doesn't have a definitive timeline on when he will return to practice.
"Karri is in the gym," Hartley explained. "He's getting better but not close to being on the ice."
OLYMPIC TRASH TALK
With Canada and the USA facing off in one of Friday's semi-final match-ups in Sochi, you can guarantee there will be some trash talking going on in the Flames locker room. However, there is a definite favourite in the room as the vast majority of players are Canadian.
"Chris tends to be the guy who sort of holds down the fort for the Americans. A lot of pride, a very proud American. I am too but I think he's a little more outgoing with it."
The other semi-final features Sweden and Finland and Ortio, a Finn, would be happy to put money on his home country skating their way into the gold medal game.
"It's kind of a shot at redemption. We lost to them in the semi's at the Worlds last spring so there is a chance to get that one back.
"I feel there is no team they can't beat. I think they've got a pretty good chance."
"I cheer for Team Canada and I wish them the best. But I think that hockey fans around the world are well-served." - Flames head coach Bob Hartley on the Olympics
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