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