The Los Angeles Kings have fired head coach John Stevens and assistant Don Nachbaur, with Willie Desjardins taking over behind the bench.
Willie Desjardins named interim Head Coach of the LA Kings, John Stevens relieved of his coaching duties.https://t.co/s84Ssu841g— LA Kings (@LAKings) November 4, 2018
The Kings also announced that former NHLer Marco Sturm will join Desjardins' coaching staff. The former is also the head coach and GM of Germany's National team - leading them to the silver medal at this year's Winter Olympics.
There were rumors that the Kings were going to fire Stevens over the past couple of weeks. They sit at 4-8-1 - last in the Western Conference right now. The Kings' minus-17 goal differential is also worst in the NHL, which is surprising given their recent history as one of the league's better defensive teams.
Stevens took over as head coach for the 2017-18 season, after the Kings fired head coach Darryl Sutter. Los Angeles went 45-29-8 and qualified for the postseason, but the Vegas Golden Knights swept them in the opening round of the playoffs.
Los Angeles will hope that Desjardins - who coached the Vancouver Canucks from 2014-15 to 2016-17 - can fix a team that has wholes in every area. Captain Anze Kopitar has a mere four goals and six points on the season, while Jeff Carter (nine points), and Tyler Toffoli (three goals), haven't played up to their usual standards.
Goalie Jonathan Quick is also out several weeks after undergoing knee surgery, which has complicated a potential turnaround even more. With porous goaltending, defence and a lackluster offense, the Kings need a lot to go right if a turnaround is in order.
The Kings have delayed a rebuild ever since winning their second Stanley Cup in 2014, hoping this ageing core could squeeze out one more run to another championship. It hasn't happened, and if Desjardins isn't able to turn this team around, GM Rob Blake could decide it's time to finally start a rebuild.