TOP 100 OILERS: PETR KLIMA (33)

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From the candy cane tape job on his hockey stick to the Great Dane he kept in his hotel room at the Coliseum Inn across the Street from Northlands Coliseum to the business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back mullet and big fur coats he favoured, Petr Klima was a walking fashion statement. He had style.

Despite his penchant for driving coaches crazy wherever he played by doing nothing for games on end and occasionally missing curfew – hello, Goose Loonies – then going on a tear out on the ice that took your breath away, there’s no doubt Klima was equal parts substance. It’s fitting, then, he scored one of the greatest overtime goals in the history of the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 during a game in which he had his ass stapled to the pine most of the night. 

Petr Klima

Left Wing — shoots R

Born Dec 23 1964 — Chaomutov, Czech 

Height 6.00 — Weight 183 [183 cm/83 kg]

Drafted by Detroit Red Wings

Round 5 #86 overall 1983 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1985-86

DET

74

32

24

56

-39

16

174

18.4

1986-87

DET

77

30

23

53

-9

42

209

14.4

1987-88

DET

78

37

25

62

4

46

174

21.3

1988-89

DET

51

25

16

41

5

44

145

17.2

1989-90

TOT

76

30

33

63

-9

72

186

16.1

1989-90

DET

13

5

5

10

-8

6

37

13.5

1989-90

EDM

63

25

28

53

-1

66

149

16.8

1990-91

EDM

70

40

28

68

24

113

204

19.6

1991-92

EDM

57

21

13

34

-18

52

107

19.6

1992-93

EDM

68

32

16

48

-15

100

175

18.3

1993-94

TBL

75

28

27

55

-15

76

167

16.8

1994-95

TBL

47

13

13

26

-13

26

75

17.3

1995-96

TBL

67

22

30

52

-25

68

164

13.4

1996-97

TOT

33

2

12

14

-12

12

55

3.6

1996-97

LAK

8

0

4

4

-7

2

12

0.0

1996-97

PIT

9

1

3

4

-4

4

21

4.8

1996-97

EDM

16

1

5

6

-1

6

22

4.5

1998-99

DET

13

1

0

1

-3

4

12

8.3

6 yrs

DET

306

130

93

223

-50

158

751

17.3

5 yrs

EDM

274

119

90

209

-11

337

657

18.1

3 yrs

TBL

189

63

70

133

-53

170

406

15.5

1 yr

LAK

8

0

4

4

-7

2

12

0.0

1 yr

PIT

9

1

3

4

-4

4

21

4.8

Career

786

313

260

573

-125

671

1847

16.9

PLAYOFFS

Season

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1986-87

DET

13

1

2

3

0

4

45

2.2

1987-88

DET

12

10

8

18

9

10

38

26.3

1988-89

DET

6

2

4

6

0

19

19

10.5

1989-90

EDM

21

5

0

5

-2

8

25

20.0

1990-91

EDM

18

7

6

13

-1

16

51

13.7

1991-92

EDM

15

1

4

5

-1

8

22

4.5

1995-96

TBL

4

2

0

2

0

14

9

22.2

1996-97

EDM

6

0

0

0

0

4

2

0.0

Career

95

28

24

52

5

83

211

13.3

NOTABLE

It would be easy enough to wag your finger at Klima and dismiss him as one of those uncommitted types who was very good as a NHL player but refused to be great because he just wasn’t willing to put in the work – there’s certainly a lot of truth in that where he’s concerned – but he was a free-spirit who was difficult not to like. Then again, I never had to coach him.

Klima, who broke into the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings in 1985-86 after defecting from Czeckoslovakia, already had plenty of baggage as a good-time guy when he was traded to Edmonton with Joe Murphy, Adam Graves and Jeff Sharples by the Red Wings for Jimmy Carson, Kevin McClelland and a draft pick in November of 1989.

The most noteworthy incident happened right here in Edmonton as Klima, Bob Probert and Joe Kocur were caught partying into the wee hours of the morning at Goose Loonies, a southside nightclub, the night before the fifth game of Detroit’s third-round series against the Oilers. The Oilers won the game 8-4 and the series 4-1.

THE STORY

On the ice, Klima could skate, shoot and score – when he felt like it – with the best of them. Klima scored 119 goals and had 209 points in 274 regular season games in two stints with the Oilers. His best season in Edmonton was 1990-91 when he scored 40 goals and had 68 points in 70 games. On talent alone, Klima should’ve scored 40 goals every season, but, you know. . . 

Klima’s greatest moment as an Oiler came in Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins in Beantown. Benched by coach John Muckler, Klima took a backhand pass from Jari Kurri and snapped a shot past former Oiler Andy Moog at 15:13 of the third overtime period for a 3-2 win and 1-0 series lead. The Oilers would go on to win their fifth Stanley Cup.

Klima’s Stanley Cup ring with the Oilers was the only one he’d get during a 786-game career that could have, and should have, been much better had he spent more time playing and less time boozing, but it wasn’t to be. Klima was a magnificent talent who settled for being very good when he could have been great. 

This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up. 

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

PREVIOUSLY:

  • BigMcD

    I can’t find the quote but it went something like this” I can’t wait for Macinnis to be back in the lineup because ,defensively he gives me everything I need.”

    He also scored a great goal coming out of the corner, in the playoffs,against L.A. ,I think in ”91.

  • Spydyr

    He was just following orders to get Probert and Kocur off their games. It appears to have worked. In all serious that triple overtime goal against Boston is one of my top ten Oiler moments.

  • toprightcorner

    Petr was a beauty. I started doing the candy cane stick wrap after seeing his.

    I remember his scoring the goal while I was watching it as a kid in my room on a 10″ black and white TV, I got in trouble because I screamed so loud I woke up everyone in the house.

  • Druds

    I remember He was in my wife’s birthing class at the Grey Nun’s. him and his Girlfriend and I was surprised how slight he looked 5’9 and 160 maybe, they must have measured him in his skates…not like they build them today.

  • Randaman

    This is funny. -125 in his career and he’s ranked this high because of one goal? We all know what that goal meant, thus the ranking in my opinion.

    Sorry Robin, can’t agree with this one.

    He has Yakupov numbers and we ran him out of town.

    • Players are ranked based on what they did during their time with the Oilers, not in their overall career.

      Since you brought up plus-minus (a flawed stat), Klima was minus-11 in 274 games with the Oilers. Much better here than he was elsewhere.

      As for the “he has Yakupov numbers” reference, surely you jest. Using your plus-minus reference, Yakupov was minus-88 in fewer (252) games here. Klima was a .76 PPG player here. Yakupov was .44. Petr had a 40-goal season here. Yakupov never reached 40 points. Even adjusting for era, it’s not close.

      Disagree with Klima’s place on the list if you like — I’ve duly noted his flaws — but at least make a compelling argument.

      • Randaman

        My argument is simply based on what you wrote yourself.

        He was lazy, uninspired, sporadic, etc. He only played when he wanted to.

        Based on that what kind of team mate is that? I would hope that the top 100 had all the intangibles but that’s a pretty tall order.

        I just don’t agree with the placement of this player is all.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    This is bound to be controversial, regardless of the Boston goal (which was huge–not that the Oilers wouldn’t have won the series anyway).

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    As for the “he has Yakupov numbers” reference, surely you jest . . . . Klima was a .76 PPG player here. Yakupov was .44.

    Yakupov is a 070-0.73 PPG when you adjust for the era.

    And to be fair (in comparing), who were Klima’s line mates and what was is TOI avg when he scored 40 goals? Better than Yak’s mates and TOI, I’m guessing.

    But he’s not Yak, sure okay. However, he’s not better than Eberle or Nuge. Ebs is a .75 scorer today. How’d ya think he compares with Klima in 1990? Nuge has none of Klima’s bad habits and I’d wager would be the better scorer if they played in the same era.

    Wait a year or two and you may live to see Eberle get benched in the playoffs and come back in OT to score a clutch goal.

    Robin,

    Clearly there’s a lot of work and a lot of thought that goes into this list. Can’t question that, and it’s welcomed by Oiler fans, I’d say particularly those who lived through the history of the team from the WHA days. However, such lists are bound to create disagreements, really serve only to create conversation and not to enshrine a hierarchy of Oiler players (beyond the top 5 or so), and ultimately serve, therefore, as–pardon the phrase–clickbait; it’s not unlike Rolling Stones top 500 guitar solos, songs, albums or musical acts.

    Put differently, I think you’d do well simply to call these entries player profiles or spotlights. Nothing is lost, the players get the recognition they deserve, and you avoid the quibbles over who’s ahead or behind any of the players.

  • Borbs

    I remember watching that Finals game with my dad till the wee hours, listening to my dad try to pick a player to win it for the Oilers. I said, “How about Klima? He’s, at the least, well rested.” My dad told me Klima would be too cold and they couldn’t risk it. Then what happens? I’ll tell you what happened, I secured the right to chirp my dad for almost 30 years straight for calling that goal. Pure luck sure, but sweet nonetheless!

    P.S. Brownlee, where’s the sidebar on the sweet white lid that linesman is wearing in the one photo?!