Andrew Raycroft has been through the NHL wars, so getting a chance tonight to prove he should be the Stars backup goalie probably isn't going to get his pulse racing too much.
``It's a great opportunity, but I really do see this as just another game,'' Raycroft said of his one full game of pre-season hockey that will go a long way in determining if he stays with the Stars for the Oct. 8 season opener in New Jersey or whether he is sent to the Texas Stars. ``Maybe that's a good thing for me. I know what it means, but I'm just going to go out and focus on my job and try to stop pucks.''
While Raycroft (30) and Brent Krahn (28) are similar in age, they are completely different in experience. Krahn was drafted ninth overall in 2000 but has battled several injuries and played one period of one NHL game. Raycroft was drafted 135th in 1998, but he has played in 251 NHL games with a 103-101-27 record, a 2.87 GAA and a .900 save percentage.
To be fair, that experience can be seen as a good thing and a bad thing. Raycroft won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2004 with Boston, but eventually lost his job there. He has since had stints with Toronto, Colorado and Vancouver, and those three teams decided to move on without him.
There are some interesting decisions there (like Vancouver deciding it was time to allow youngster Cory Schneider to be the backup goalie this season), but the bottom line is Raycroft had to take a two-way contract for the chance to battle for the back-up job with the Stars this season.
``I think you always want to give yourself a chance to play in the NHL, and that's something I like about this team,'' Raycroft said. ``Plus, I think the organization is heading in the right direction and you want to be a part of that.''
Krahn allowed two goals on 21 shots in a 5-2 win over St. Louis on Saturday, but one was a very soft goal. Raycroft probably has the lead so far in training camp, but the Stars want to see Raycroft in a full game, so playing on the road against a speedy Colorado team will be a good test with a lot on the line.
``I'm excited about the chance,'' Raycroft said. ``It should be fun.''
And while it is probably knee-jerking a bit with the season opener more than a week away, you can argue this is the most important battle of training camp with No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen nursing some groin soreness.