by Lindsay Kramer || NHL.com
One of the only good things about Texas Stars goalie Brent Krahn‘s continual run of injuries is how good he’s getting at coming back from them.
He may have mastered that art this season. When Krahn got a sports hernia repaired this season — an ailment that kept him out from late November to mid-March — his game must have gotten an overall tune-up as well. Since returning, he’s been one of the AHL’s best goalies.
"It’s a mentality. I’ve been injured enough in my case to know you press sometimes when you come back, said Krahn, 27. "You are sitting in the press box. You are trying your hardest to come back. You are thinking about making that save. I knew I’d be fine coming back, but I didn’t know I’d have as much success as I’ve had."
The numbers speak to a goalie who knew how to return in mid-season form: 6-1, 2.34 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in March and 1-1, 2.57, .929 in April. He then stopped 58 of 60 shots as the Stars took the first two games of their playoff-opening series against Rockford.
Krahn had realistic expectations of himself, and the subtle peer pressure of backstopping one of the best defensive teams in the AHL can’t be underestimated as motivation, either.
"When you come back, you are not just there to get your feet wet," Krahn said. "You hit a spot where you find yourself as a goaltender, what you need to do to succeed. The guys on my team, they bust their backs. It’s fun playing here. You stop one shot, the boys come and clear the rebound. When you see the guys working so hard, you don’t want to let them down."
Krahn’s sports hernia was the latest in a long list of problems that have limited his time, most dealing with knee problems. The No. 9 pick by the Calgary Flames in the 2000 draft hopes he’s done getting force-fed the lessons of perspective that injuries sometimes bring.
"I’ve realized the type of goaltender I want to be," he said. "You get caught up when you play a bad game, it sits with you for awhile. Being more mature as a goaltender, I realize you’re not going to make every save. You can beat yourself up over the years, which I have, or you can learn from it."
Lindsay Kramer, the AHL correspondent for NHL.com, profiles an up-and-coming player each Monday during the season, and his AHL notebook appears each Thursday on NHL.com. Read today’s complete column here.