The Kings are rumored to be close to hiring John Stevens, former Philadelphia Flyers and Adirondack Phantoms head coach. Sure, why not. It's not like we have enough Flyers on the staff as it is. You think we'd be emulating a franchise that had won a Stanley Cup since 1975, but whatever. Anyway, Stevens would be replacing Mark Hardy. Is John Stevens a good guy, a team guy, a welcome addition to the locker room? Yeah, absolutely. Is he a good coach? I'm not so sure.
John Stevens would be replacing Mark Hardy, who resigned from the team after... let's just not mention why because it creeps me out. Anyway, Hardy's gone. Hardy ran the defense for Terry Murray and I don't think you'll find anyone who will say that he didn't do a great job. Under Hardy, the Kings improved from 32 shots a game in 07-08 (a year before Hardy joined the team) to 28.1 shots a game in 08-09 and 27.6 shots a game in 09-10. A lot of that is due to Terry Murray's forward system and Drew Doughty, but in turn Hardy should probably be given credit for Doughty's ascendancy, Jack Johnson's improvement (and how Johnson's been sheltered from tough competition the past 2 seasons), and Matt Greene's un-retardation most of the time. He had some faults (playing Randy Jones so much, for one), but Mark Hardy was a good coach.
But Stevens? I'm not so sure about him. I can't seem to find too much about how the coaching duties were split under Stevens in Philadelphia* but I would assume Stevens had a hand in the defense, seeing as how he was a defenseman in the NHL. In the three (mostly full) seasons John Stevens was coach of the Flyers, the Flyers allowed:
-32.7 shots in 06-07 (27th in the league)
-31.8 shots in 07-08 (27th)
-32.5 shots in 08-09 (T-25th)
They were outshot by at least 2 shots a game, too, so it's not like they were just playing at a faster pace than the Kings. John Stevens' teams were not good defensive teams. That's not exactly a desirable trait in your new defensive coordinator.
It's possible that I'm reading too much into Stevens' past performance and I honestly don't know too much about how he would run a defensive group since he's been a head coach for the past 9 years. It's possible that Stevens is a fantastic defensive coach and will bring the best out of our young defenders as they enter the league; his 6 seasons in the AHL and his description as a good guy give me hope that Stevens will do exactly that. All I really have to go on is that past performance and it doesn't look that great. I would rather the Kings go after whoever did the defense for Columbus since they all just got fired, or maybe Mark Morris from Manchester. Oh well, we'll see.
*Why can't hockey coaches be given titles like football coaches? Why can't Matt Shaw be "Offensive Coordinator" and Trent Yawney be "Defensive Coordinator" in San Jose? Why is Dave Farrish called Assistant Coach instead of "Penalty Kill Coordinator?" It's stupid that it's so hard to figure out what people actually do for the team.