The Kings parted ways with John Stevens and assistant coach Don Nachbaur a day after the Los Angeles Kings played a complete game for the first time in weeks.
John Stevens’ history with the Kings
Stevens joined the Kings in 2010 serving as an assistant coach under former coaches Terry Murray and Darryl Sutter.
He was credited with being in charge of the strong defensive game the Kings became known for throughout the league. His defensive prowess helped lead the LA Kings lift the Stanley Cup Championships in 2012 and 2014.
When Sutter was let go after the 2016-17 season, Stevens was elevated to head coach. His ultimate task was to reinvent the Kings after they missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
The Kings did have a turnaround season last year, as they returned to the playoffs and players such as Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Dustin Brown all had career years.
Kings not living up to expectations
The expectation for this year was for the Kings to improve on their re-emergence and make a deep run in the playoffs again.
However, the Kings started the season 4-8-1 with 9 points and are currently last in the NHL. Seeing very little improvement over the season was likely the reason the Blake decided to change direction.
The Kings are dead last in goals and below average in goals against. Despite improvements they are still below league average on the power play and penalty kill.
In an e-mail sent to season ticket holders, team president Luc Robitaille explained the team’s position.
“It is with great difficulty that we are notifying you that today we have made a coaching change. Our mission and commitment to you is to deliver a championship caliber hockey club and this season our results to date have not met those expectations. With that in mind, this was a difficult decision but one we feel was necessary.”
Desjardins named interim
In the e-mail, Robitaille also mentioned that Willie Desjardins would be placed as the interim Head Coach for the rest of the season.
Dejardins coached the Vancouver Canucks from 2014-17. In 2018, he was also the Head Coach of the Canadian Olympic Team that took the bronze medal.
Where the Kings go from here is now on the players. If they continue falter, then they might be the ones who find themselves without jobs once the season ends.
With this change in leadership, the season begins anew.