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Palffy Says He'd Like to Stay in L.A.

Winger, admitting that trade talk bothers him, is philosophical about a possible deal but hopes he can remain with Kings and 'get after this mess.'

February 12, 2003|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

NASHVILLE — Ziggy Palffy can't hide from the rumors.

The high-scoring Slovak winger, the Kings' most electrifying player, knows that people are talking about him, saying that he might be dealt to a Stanley Cup contender before the March 11 trade deadline.

He knows the Kings have done little to discourage the talk, General Manager Dave Taylor indicating last week that the club will listen to offers for a player who has averaged more than a point a game in nearly four seasons with the Kings.

He also knows that the Kings, who have fallen out of the playoff picture in an injury-riddled season, have detailed their financial troubles and, for the right offer, might want to unload a player due to make $7 million next season.

And it's hard on him.

"It always bothers somebody if [others are] talking about trades," Palffy said Tuesday before the Kings defeated the Nashville Predators, 3-2, in the Gaylord Entertainment Center. "This is always on your mind....

"I've just never been in this position before, talking about trades and economy stuff. If it's going to help the team, I'm going to go."

But he'd rather not.

Palffy, who will turn 31 on May 5, came to the Kings in a 1999 trade with the New York Islanders, one of the teams said to be interested in making a bid for him, and he said he wouldn't mind going back.

"I loved it," he said of his six seasons in the Islander franchise. "It's less traveling, so it's always fun to play over there in the East."

His clear preference, however, is to stay with the Kings, who are paying him $7.25 million this season and hold the option on his contract for next season.

"I love [it] here and I want to stay here," said Palffy, who leads the Kings with 21 goals and 31 assists. "But I can't control that. I can just play hockey. Anything is possible here, anything can happen right now till the deadline. If they feel they have to get rid of money and stuff, I can't control that. I just have to go....

"But I want to stay with this team, if it's worse or if it's good. I don't want to go just because the team is not playing well or not making the playoffs. I want to stay here and get after this mess. What's going to happen later, that's not up to me."

His hope, however, is that the Kings don't make a rash decision.

"I know they're losing money," he said, "but if you want to win games you have to have [the] best players. Everybody knows that.

"Don't bring the team down because we didn't make the playoffs. You have to see the injuries. You have to realize what happened. If they're deciding not to spend the money because they're losing money, that's not up to the players. It's up to them. And if they think like that, the team's going to go down for sure."

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