COULD JOHN STEVENS REPLACE MARK HARDY?

According to Helene Elliott, apparently he could.

Not more than an hour ago, Elliott posted a tidbit on the LA Times website that the Kings asked for permission to speak to former Flyer’s head coach, John Stevens.

Is John Stevens going to be our next assistant coach?

He doesn’t know, and neither do I.

But per Elliott’s article, Ron Hextall called Stevens “a strong candidate.” Foregoing the obvious Flyer’s connection that gives Steven’s the upper hand on every coach who has never donned the Orange and Black, one must think back to the previous coaches Dean Lombardi has hired.

As I recall it, we heard Terry Murray’s name come up (one of the only names that ever did get released during the interview process), and a few days later, Murray was named coach. The same happened with Mark Hardy. The Kings sought permission to speak to Hardy and shortly thereafter he was hired. Lombardi seems to like filling coaching vacancies as soon as he can, so while I have nothing further to go on than Helene’s article and my own thought process, I would have to say I am now expecting Steven’s to be named as Hardy’s replacement before next week.

So let’s assume this happens. Is it a good thing?

Steven’s acted as Flyer’s head coach from the 2006-2007 until 25 games into the 2009-2010 season. Steven’s guided the Kings of the East (just keep saying it and it will catch on… revisionist history is all the rage) to the pitiful performance that landed them slowly blooming power forward James VanReimsdyk. The following two years, Steven’s finished with 95 and 99 points, respectively. In 2007-08, Steven’s team lost to the Penguins in the conference finals. The following year they were ousted in the first round, again to the Penguins. During his stint in Philly, Steven’s amassed a record of 120-109-34 in 263 games. Not bad. Not great.

I wouldn’t want Steven’s as the head coach, but as a defensive coach? Maybe.

In 2007-2008, the Flyer’s had the 18th best goals against average at 2.77. They ranked 27th in shots against, giving up 31.8 per game.

In 2008-2009, the Flyer’s had the league’s 16th best goals against. Funny since the actual number is higher than the previous year at 2.83. That team finished, again, better in the rankings in shots against per game, but worse overall, letting 32.5 shots get to their goalie every 3 periods.

Those numbers aren’t very intriguing for a guy who I expect to replace a gigantic defensive hole left by the phenomenal Hardy. Of course, those numbers only tell a small part of a story that involves some serious player turnover and some seriously bad goaltending.

At the very least, this little bit of news should give us something else to hold our attention until the draft next week.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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