NATION PROFILE: PETR KLIMA

Lowetide
June 14 2013 06:29AM

It is one of the most famous goals in the history of the NHL. Petr Klima--his ass stapled to the bench for most of the game--jumps over the boards and earns eternal fame. It happened exactly that way.

IN THE BEGINNING

Petr Klima was a well regarded NHL prospect, and arrived as part of an exceptional draft season for the Detroit Red Wings. In 1983, Detroit selected Steve Yzerman, Bob Probert, Joey Kocur, Klima, Lane Lambert and Stu Grimson in one draft. That's an outstanding draft. 

Klima of course was from Litvinov, but was not readily available to the Red Wings. However, as would happen many times during his career, Klima found a way to slip through the cracks and cause a stir

SEPTEMBER 1985

Klima would score 32 goals as a Red Wing rookie, than 30 the next season and 37 the next, but Petr Klima's major skill was getting into the doghouse. 

MARCH 1987

The 'straw the broke the camel's back' came in Edmonton, believe it or not, and it is the stuff of legends. 

GOOSE LOONIES!

Imagine a time when Ken Holland was the Western Canadian scout for the Red Wings, when Neil Smith was assistant GM, Colin Campbell assistant coach and poor Jacques Demers the head coach for Detroit. It is a story with endless plot twists, but let's make a long story short: Klima and Bob Probert joined some others and got into trouble the night before a huge game, the team lost a game and a series to the Oilers and the Red Wings were sent reeling as the details of the story reached a national stage (on both sides of the border). The Mitch Albom piece has as much bite today as it did in 1988. 

That incident got Klima in trouble and the Red Wings management came down very hard on him. However, Klima's enormous talent gave him another chance--he lasted in Detroit until November 2, 1989. That day, Detroit sent Klima, Adam Graves, Joe Murphy and Jeff Sharples to the Edmonton Oilers for Jimmy Carson, Kevin McClelland and a 5th rd pick. It was  highway robbery in the first degree. 

THE GOAL AND INFAMY

Latest OT goal: Petr Klima May 15, 1990--game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. 55:13 of OT. Klima's most famous for that goal, and the circumstances around it. After all, you have to be pretty deep in the doghouse to be fresh 6 hours into a hockey game, and you have to be lucky to have Jari Kurri make a creative and brilliant play after that long a stretch to set you up. Klima's goal--and his exceptional goal scoring ability--kept him in the NHL for a long, long time. 

It is a strong example of that old saying "the hardest thing to do in hockey is score goals." What kind of reputation did Klima have as a player? 

  • Terry Jones, Edmonton Sun: "Petr Klima is 32 years old, played 12 years in the NHL and has never broken a sweat."

Klima was a splendid player, terrific shot and a scorer's hands, and he was a terrific skater. He is known for a lot of things, but that goal May 15, 1990 trumps all. He is the last Oiler to score 40 in a season. As of 2010, he was living in the Detroit area and doing well. 

From this fan's perspective, I always liked Klima. He had a great sense of humor, was an outstanding offensive player and could score goals in bunches. He drove coaches crazy, but I've never really hard a problem with enigma types. Glen Sather used to collect them by the dozen, and if Slats hadn't grabbed Klima in the Carson deal maybe that 1990 Stanley doesn't come home to Edmonton. 

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Gitagrip
June 14 2013, 06:52AM
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Barber pole taped stick. What a goof and what a goal!

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#2 Klima's Mullet
June 14 2013, 08:00AM
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40 goals and 113 PIM in'91...what a legend!

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#3 StHenriOilBomb
June 14 2013, 08:07AM
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That year was the first cup I remember watching, and Klima was the first Oiler I remember disliking. Strange how I seemed to wipe from my memory that it was he who scored that massive goal.

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#4 Reg Dunlop
June 14 2013, 08:49AM
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Klima was an unrivaled waste of talent, but that Herman Munster helmet was perfect. As for the notorious Goose Loonies episode, what was the big deal? For big Probert, a couple of lines and it was 'WHERES MY SKATES HAVE YOU SEEN MY SKATES LETS GO'. Hang over be damned.

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#5 HugThePost
June 14 2013, 08:56AM
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Wow; seeing that video sends chills down my spine. Funny how seeing reminders of iconic pop culture events in one's life sort of re-frames everything else.

I was one who liked Klima; his talent and speed were mesmerizing. I also remember that backcheck he did in a later playoff year on #99 when Gretz was about to pile in on a slapper from the top of the slot and Klima caught him, stick checked him at the top of his wind up and left #99 on the ice while he turned the puck up ice.

Just great.

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#6 Sliderule
June 14 2013, 09:27AM
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Ted Green used to rake Klima up and down calling him chickenpoop and worse..

It went off Klima like water off a ducks back.He was afraid of Green like most everybody on oilers but he couldn't be motivated.Lots of talent not much heart.

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#7 WhattaMike
June 14 2013, 10:01AM
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Yep....I too remember the Klima yrs with the Oil.

The guy had talent and skill, speed, and,...that striped up stick...lol. But as pretty much is agreed upon overall, the guy had no hard work ethics nor the attitude to get one.

He always just seemed to do as well as needed just to stay on team, although he did score goals too.

But as I do remember also very well, that I cheered loud and happily when he scored in the playoffs big time, especially in that triple overtime against Boston.

Funny how I immediately thought of him/his goal when Shaw scored for Chicago the other night.

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#8 Oilers Coffey
June 14 2013, 10:04AM
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#EnshrineTheBucket

That was one classic bucket, and that's what I will remember most about Klima :)

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#9 madjam
June 14 2013, 10:10AM
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Fond memories from a gifted offensive talent . Still have my coasters from 1990-1991 Sports Talk Trivia Winner OLDIES 1260 hosted by J.Short . I won them answering the question , who was the Oilers plus minus leader that year . You guessed it - Petr Klima ! Wondered and questioned the whole overtime time why they were not using him earlier . Klima seemed to be a bit like K.Nielson .

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#10 JimW
June 14 2013, 10:18AM
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When people talk about Alex Kovalev, I immediately think of Klima. I still remember that goal to this very day...let's hope the glory days will return!

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#11 Todd
June 14 2013, 10:19AM
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"I like fun, and I like Rambo"

Sounds like Wanye

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#12 Lochenzo
June 14 2013, 11:52AM
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I was at Peter Klima's first game as an Oiler. He played with Messier and Anderson. Lot's of speed. Peter made a behind the back pass in the neutral zone and put it right on Mark's tape. As a kid and a fan, I loved that pass. But now that I'm older, I can see John Muckler pulling his hair out on that play.

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#13 Metal&Oil
June 14 2013, 12:52PM
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May 15th, 1990. A great day for the Oilers. Klima scores in 3x OT and Jordan Eberle is born!!!

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#14 NewAgeSys
June 14 2013, 02:27PM
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I remember that Kilma goal like it happened ten seconds ago.

Look at the stick that is being projected for the deflection in front by the Mystery Man with all that hair who set the Table for Petr, the perfect body positioning, the perfect amount of pressure on the goaltender, and also in the perfect position to tap it in backdoor.

Really nice timing to delay the playaction get the man to the front perfectly. And good job of going to the net perfectly there Chief.

Klima was like a Taylor Hall type, a pure demon with the puck. Hell on Wheels. Also Hell on coaches last nerves, ha ha ha.

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#15 Spaceman Spiff
June 14 2013, 03:50PM
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I remember that goal very well. I was in Grade 12 and I think the game was on a school night, although I’m not 100-percent sure of that.

A few random memories of that game and series...

- One of the prevailing thoughts of that game was whether or not the Boston Garden was capable of staying operational. Oilers/Bruins finals had a somewhat spotty record in the Gaw-den by that time.

- Esa Tikkanen shadowed Craig Janney so closely that Janney ended up getting dehydrated and carried out to an ambulance. There’s a clip on one of those Hockey Night in Canada post-Cup montages (done to the tune of Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best”), in which you can see Tikk perfectly matching Janney step-for-step and stride-for-stride for a few moments. (Aside: Isn’t it weird how “shadowing” has completely fallen out of the hockey lexicon?).

- By the finals, Bill Ranford was basically the best goalie on the planet. The Bruins had no solution for him. Ranford would remain the best goalie on the planet for at least two or three more years.

- Andy Moog probably ended up having a nervous breakdown after the series. There were times, during the final, when you could see the veins pulsating on his forehead, through his mask.

This would be yet-another final in which Moog would be outdueled by a goalie on his old team, only this time, it wouldn’t be Fuhr; but rather some relative-unknown. (Aside: That’s why I found it so strange that the Oilers had an Andy Moog Night this past season – he didn’t exactly leave the team honourably and didn’t have too many nice things to say about it after he left).

- Martin Gelinas was a 19- or 20-year-old and he actually looked less tired as the game wore on. He was dancing throughout most of the game. He probably could have played two more overtimes.

- I remember Harry Neale comparing Steve Smith to Larry Robinson in that series; which might seem ridiculous now, but for that spring, Smith did resemble the Big Bird. Big, rangy guy who skated well, moved the puck well and who NO ONE wanted any piece of. Even Cam Neely didn’t mess with him.

- Meanwhile, Geoff Smith, probably one of the smoothest skaters I’d ever seen play on the Oilers to that point in their history (and that’s saying a lot), made the NHL’s All-Rookie team that season... but did not play a minute of hockey in the Stanley Cup final and only three playoff games, period. To this day, I’ve always wondered why John Muckler didn’t have any confidence in him.

- After his goal, I don’t remember hearing much from Klima that series. The 40-goal-scorer Klima didn’t come until a year or two later ...when he was also a better playoff performer.

- The consensus among the media is that the Oilers were underdogs ... and I suppose they were, on paper ... but that series could have been a best of 15 and the Oilers still would have swept it.

There was no way, at that point in the Oilers’ chronology, that guys like Messier, Kurri, Lowe and Anderson were ever going to get that far into the playoffs and lose to a team like Boston. The Oilers got a lot of breaks and some out-of-this-world goaltending, to be sure ... but they just knew how to do all the little things to win. The Bruins just didn’t.

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