The Petr Klima experiment did not even make it past the first month of the season, as the Kings traded the lethargic forward to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday for a conditional draft pick in 1997.
Klima, who had no goals and four assists in eight games, was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in August for a conditional draft pick in 1997. And he didn't come cheaply, making $835,000 this season. Klima, 31, is expected to join the slumping Penguins tonight in Vancouver for a game against the Canucks.
It didn't take Klima long to fall out of favor here, with a defensive rating of minus-seven, and an inability to produce on the power play. And he had been billed as one of the few name players with some scoring punch.
"For Petr, it's a good thing," King Coach Larry Robinson said. "There, his style will fit in better than over here. I meant what I said earlier. I don't think he was enjoying himself. There were other things on his mind."
Apparently, it involved taxes, Robinson said. Klima, who had spent the last two seasons in Tampa, enjoyed the tax climate in Florida, where there is no state income tax. Many prominent athletes--namely tennis players and golfers--from California move to Florida for that reason.
"We came from Florida, it's a totally different lifestyle," Klima said. "Being in the league for 12 years, and Larry [Robinson] knows hockey, we both probably knew things couldn't work out and I would have to move on."
Robinson's patience was quickly taxed after four weeks of watching Klima float.
"He spoke to me earlier about only being on the power play," Robinson said. "I said, 'If you're good enough to be on the power play, you should be good for every situation.' When I did that, every time he was on the ice, the puck was in our net. So what are you going to do?"
Left wing Kevin Stevens said Klima should not be held accountable for the slumping Kings' shortcomings. The team held a long meeting Friday at the Forum, in which every player was asked to speak about the situation.
"Everybody spoke up, everyone had something to say," Stevens said. "It's hard when everybody's in a funk. We're all looking for answers. It's hard on everybody, to be sure. The goal scorers have to score--myself, Ray [Ferraro] and Eddie Olczyk, between all of us, we have four, five goals."