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Frustrated by Lack of Playing Time, Kings' Beck Retires

March 08, 1990|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Barry Beck experiment is over.

Beck, attempting a comeback with the Kings after a three-year retirement, retired again Wednesday.

Frustrated by a lack of playing time, Beck, 32, said he decided to call it quits when he was told by Kings' management he didn't have the speed to compete in the Smythe Division.

"They told me I couldn't handle it," said Beck, whose role has been reduced to that of a fill-in. "If that's what they're thinking, maybe they've got to go with it. I didn't think I was all that bad."

Beck was operating on a one-year deal that guaranteed him a minimum of $100,000. His total salary was based on the number of games played. Having appeared in 52 games this season, he had already earned more than $300,000. King General Manager Rogie Vachon envisioned no problems reaching a settlement.

"He has been frustrated going in and out of the lineup," Vachon said. "Because he may not have had the speed, he compensated by playing conservatively."

Beck finishes with one goal and seven assists this season, along with 53 penalty minutes.

The most important number to consider, however, when talking about a King defenseman is 284, the number of goals the club had given up heading into Wednesday night's game. That's the highest number in the Smythe Division and fourth highest in the league.

Not that Beck should be held totally responsible. This defense has been a real team effort.

The timing on the Beck announcement is curious since it comes a day after the Kings tried and failed to get a new defenseman before Tuesday's trading deadline.

It also comes one day after fellow King defenseman Brian Benning underwent an emergency appendectomy.

"We should be OK," Vachon said. "We've still got seven defensemen. Let's see if we can get this damn thing off the ground."

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