So the Kings should fire John Stevens, right? Everyone secretly thinks this? It’s not just me— HCol Rudy Kelly (@rudykelly) March 28, 2018
Bro we need to fire John Stevens— J-Roc (@jacob_vivirito) October 10, 2018
We’re seeing a lot of calls to fire John Stevens already. Without casting any judgement on that opinion ... who do you replace him with, if he goes mid-season?— Jewels from the Crown (@JFTC_Kings) October 13, 2018
Since he first got named head coach, John Stevens seemed, to me at least, that he would have a very short leash on which to operate. He was a holdover of past management, a guy everyone knew, and a guy who knew everyone. Stevens had coached the Kings prior back in 2011 when Terry Murray got canned. This second stint initially felt oddly familiar to his interim head coaching gig. Probably because he was taking over for another recently fired head coach, this time being Darryl Sutter.
The decision felt like a stopgap, with maybe an upside being that Stevens had matured as a coach and developed a quality system.
It was a big maybe.
To start his first full season as REAL head coach and not just interim, the Kings came out with the guns blazing. The plodding, possession heavy, cycling team that Sutter developed was out. The counter-attack, high-flying team was here now in a league where speed and creating space is in vogue. Then the rest of the league had a game plan against the Kings.
The second half of last season had the Kings stumbling at times, and then got ran over by a Vegas team that out coached Stevens every step of the way. It did not help that the Kings defense got hit with injuries to Derek Forbort and Jake Muzzin either, to be fair.
At the time, I said the Kings bringing back John Stevens would be a mistake. His system was basic in every insulting sense of the word. Then of course he remained coach, the Kings had a horrendous preseason (though it’s preseason so who fucking cares?), and the Kings got out shot and out attempted by miles by every team they’ve matched up against. Including Montreal, Detroit, and Ottawa.
Then there is the power play.
Disaster would be an understatement. It’s made the Bay of Pigs seem like a coordinated and competent undertaking. Worst of all, two weeks or so into the season and still being as bad as it started is remarkably woeful.
Long story short: Stevens has got to do a massive shake up with his schemes or his ass is toast.
To that point, any changes made by Johnnie would be welcome at this rate simply because none were made despite the ineptitude the team displayed in the second half last season. At the very least, please please please please stop using Adrian Kempe at center.
But if Stevens were to be fired, who would replace him? The Kings assistant coaches are...uh...
So outside options would be required. Perhaps:
The Arizona Coyotes former coach took teams with less talent than the Kings got now to the playoffs and even the conference finals. He’s defense first, which the Kings seem to be all about. He also isn’t worried about rolling with younger talent, which the Kings are integrating in more and more of. He also was an assistant coach in L.A. with Andy Murray.
He won a Cup! He couldn’t really win much more after that, even with Crosby and Malkin developing into their primes. Then he really couldn’t win in Buffalo, but that’s less his fault. He played in L.A. for a while, too.
New to L.A. but a proven winner! He already spends a lot of time at Staples Center, so maybe he knows some of the Kings? Nobody thought he could drag the garbage bag Cavaliers through the post-season but he routinely did that. He even beat the Warriors once. He moved out west to expand his professional portfolio and explore new opportunities, and this would have to be intriguing.
The former leader of the free world is charismatic and quite the people person so now he could be the monarch and tyrant that people feared he was. Sure, he never attended a Capitals game in D.C., but who can blame him for disliking hockey. I sure hate it.
I’m not busy ever, and I would maybe stop complaining about the Kings online. I never actually coached or even led anything, but I also have no blemishes on my track record either. I played goalie in high school, which means I never paid attention to coaches, but I can wing it no problem. I mean John Tortorella is a coach still. How hard could it be? I think players would be drawn to my laid back approach and would have beers in the locker room with me. Just like in high school.
Okay maybe not. But at least the Kings won then before they all hated him for being a cranky old coot.