TSN’s Bob McKenzie shared, via Twitter, that one person the Vancouver Canucks are interested in to be their next head coach is current Kings assistant John Stevens. Jason Botchford of The Province says Stevens is a guy who could help out in a big way with the team’s defensemen.
Stevens is credited with helping develop Drew Doughty’s game to the level it’s at now as one of the best blue liners in the league. He’s also given credit for helping guys like Jacob Muzzin and Slava Voynov reaching new levels in their game. As Botchford notes, bringing Stevens in could provide a huge benefit for Alex Edler’s game in Vancouver.
The hang-up with desiring Stevens? The fact the Kings are still in the playoffs and could still be there deep into June. If Vancouver wants him to be their guy they’ll need to wait for the Kings to get knocked out to talk to him.
Stevens does have four seasons worth of head coaching experience after leading the Flyers from 2006-2007 through 2009-2010. He also served as the Kings’ interim head coach last year for four games after Terry Murray was fired and before Darryl Sutter took over.
If the Los Angeles Kings didn’t quite seem themselves for parts of this season and into the playoffs, there may be a good reason for that.
Defenseman Matt Greene missed most of the regular season and playoffs with a back injury, but now that he’s made his return to action the team couldn’t be more pleased as Mike Richards tells Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times.
“The things that you guys don’t see — the leadership in the dressing room, that powerful voice — I think all year we missed him,” Richards said.
“On the ice, too, just how physical he plays and how hard he is to play against. Even before we got Regehr, too, I think that’s kind of what we were lacking on the back end. We have some skilled guys, guys that move the puck well, but I don’t think you can replace someone who plays that physical and how hard both of those guys are to play against, and Matt coming back is a big boost for us.”
With Greene and Robyn Regehr the physical part of the game is more than set on the back line and guys like Slava Voynov and Jacob Muzzin are thriving thanks to that. It also helps the Kings look like they’ve got some of that championship swagger back as well. That can only spell trouble for everyone else left in the playoffs.