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The Los Angeles Kings named assistant John Stevens their new head coach on Sunday.
New general manager Rob Blake announced the decision. Blake never expanded his search past Stevens, a source confirmed to ESPN, focusing his discussions only with Stevens in determining whether there was a fit.
“John and I had very productive dialogue this last week in relation to his head coaching philosophy and specifically how he would implement a strategy to activate our players offensively while maintaining the defensive philosophies we have come to be known for,” Blake said in a statement. “I am confident that we are both in agreement on how that can be executed. With that said, we believe John has the ideal qualities to lead our hockey club. His wide array of coaching experience, including success as an NHL head coach and his inherent knowledge of our players and those in our development system, is very appealing to us. We are confident he is the best person to lead our hockey club forward.”
The defense-minded Stevens, 50, was the Philadelphia Flyers’ head coach from 2006 to ’10, after which he has served as an assistant coach with the Kings, including four games in 2011-12 as an interim head coach.
Stevens went 120-109-34 with the Flyers, losing to the Penguins in the conference finals in 2008.
The Kings introduced Blake and team president Luc Robitaille on Tuesday, one day after coach Darryl Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi were fired despite winning the franchise’s only Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and ’14. The Kings also dismissed assistant coach Davis Payne.
Los Angeles has won only one playoff game since winning its second Cup in 2014.
The Kings will formally introduce Stevens at a news conference Monday at 1:30 p.m. PT.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.