Rob Blake

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Kings give McLellan his third head coaching job

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The Los Angeles Kings officially announced former Sharks bench boss Todd McLellan as their new head coach on Tuesday.

This continues a tour of the Pacific Division for McLellan, as he was most recently fired by the Edmonton Oilers.

From 2008-09 through 2014-15, McLellan served as Sharks head coach; he then spent 2015-16 through a portion of 2018-19 behind the bench with the Oilers, before making way for Ken Hitchcock. While the Sharks made the playoffs in six of his seven seasons (the final being the failed year, which in part cost McLellan his job), things didn’t go so swimmingly with Edmonton. While their run to Round 2 in 2016-17 represents the best season the Oilers have enjoyed in years, Edmonton only made the postseason that one time under McLellan, so he bares the mark of “not being able to get it done while having Connor McDavid on his team.”

Of course, McLellan didn’t pick the groceries, he just tried to do the best he could with those ingredients.

Unfortunately, you could also argue that his “cart” is full of expired (or nearly expired) and/or overpriced items, as the Kings sure looked like a slow, broken-down mess at times in 2018-19. McLellan inherited a tremendous Sharks team upon leaving as a Red Wings assistant, and he also came into Edmonton during McDavid’s rookie season, so this is the least promising situation McLellan’s started with. At least on paper.

There were rumblings that the Buffalo Sabres were also after Todd McLellan, including this recent bit from Pierre LeBrun:

Maybe McLellan sees more potential in the Kings (particularly in getting a few more years out of an aging core featuring Anze Kopitar [31] and Drew Doughty [29])? Or maybe this as much a statement about the way the Sabres are running things than what Los Angeles might be doing well?

Whatever the explanation might be, the McLellan era is set to begin for the Kings. How do you feel about the decision to have McLellan sit in the throne?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Stoll to miss Kings’ game vs. Coyotes

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L.A. Kings’ forward Jarret Stoll will miss his second game on Monday due to an upper body injury.

Stoll was injured during the Kings’ 4-0 win in Vancouver on Thursday night and has not skated since.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Stoll is still being evaluated.

“We’re not going to have a recall here today, by any means,” said Assistant GM Rob Blake. “We don’t have a timetable on Stollie yet. He’s not playing [on Monday].”

Lisa Dillman reports Stoll was injured on a third period hit from Canucks’ forward Derek Dorsett.

Blake was asked if there’s any concern that Stoll’s injury could be long-term.

“Hopefully, not,” he said. “You saw the hit. . . . The problem with that is we don’t have a timetable for that stuff.”

With Stoll set to miss a second game, Andy Andreoff will get another opportunity tonight when the Kings play host to the Arizona Coyotes.

The 23-year-old won 5 of 6 face-offs and played 8:28 in the Kings’ 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

“It’s tough. It’s been a long year,” said Andreoff, who played in just his second game since Feb. 3 on Saturday. “But I’m kind of getting used to it. You just got to make sure you’re being the hardest worker in practice and being ready for the opportunity.”

The Kings have won two of three meetings with the Coyotes this season. Monday is fourth and final game between the two clubs this season.

Report: Rob Blake would be Brendan Shanahan’s first choice to replace Dave Nonis

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In a perfect world, Brendan Shanahan would get permission from the L.A. Kings and hire Rob Blake as the next general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to hockey insider Bob McKenzie, Mark Hunter, who was hired as the Leafs’ Director of Player Personnel earlier this season, is another rumored replacement for Dave Nonis.

However, if possible, Shanahan would like Blake to be the guy. McKenzie was on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto Friday afternoon and had this to say on the matter:

There’s always been speculation about the future of Nonis and whether he’s Shanahan’s guy and what he’s going to do here.

When Mark Hunter got hired, I think there was a widespread presumption that he could be a general manager in waiting if and when Brendan Shanahan makes a move to terminate or put Dave Nonis out to pasture – whatever the case may be.

I’ve also heard, over the course of time, that Brendan Shanahan’s first choice, if he were to hire a general manager other than Dave Nonis, would be Rob Blake, who worked with Shanahan at player safety and now of course works for the Los Angeles Kings under the Dean Lombardi regime.

I personally don’t think Rob Blake has any interest in leaving Southern California. He’s a surfer, he likes working with the Kings, and as much as he one day maybe wants to be a general manager, I’d be absolutely shocked if he wanted to do it in Toronto.

For now, Nonis remains the general manager of the club, which is in the middle of an eight-game losing streak. According to reports, Nonis was in Manchester, NH Friday night scouting Kings’ property Mike Richards. Nonis will likely be the general manager till the end of the season, but it appears his days are numbered.

Kings to retire Blake’s number Jan. 17

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The accolades continue to roll in for former defenseman Rob Blake.

The 44-year-old, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, will have his No. 4 jersey retired by the Los Angeles Kings in a pre-game ceremony in mid-January when the Anaheim Ducks visit the Staples Center.

Blake joins Wayne Gretzky, Rogie Vachon, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor and Luc Robitaille as the only Kings’ to have their number retired.

“It is an honor to be included with the former great LA King players who have their Jersey’s retired,” said Blake in a statement. “I have always felt LA was a special place to play and it was and is a tremendous privilege to put on an LA Kings jersey.”

Blake is the Kings’ franchise leader in games played (805), goals (161) assists (333) and points (494) by a defenseman.

Blake, who served as LA’s captain from 1996-01 and 2007-08, played 14 of his 20 seasons with the Kings. The fourth-round, 1988, selection of the Kings also had stops in Colorado (2001-06) and San Jose (2008-10).

In all, the Simcoe, Ontario native tallied 240 goals and 777 points in 1270 games.

Blake, currently serving as the Kings’ Vice President and Assistant General Manager, won a Stanley Cup as a member of the Avalanche in 2001, the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 1998 and Olympic gold in 2002 for Team Canada.

On the same day his jersey is retired, Blake will also join the Kings Hall of Fame.

Related: Ducks to retire Selanne’s number Jan. 11 vs. Winnipeg