The Los Angeles Kings fired head coach John Stevens and an assistant Sunday afternoon, naming ex-Sharks forward Marco Sturm to the latter position.
Kings general manager Rob Blake announced Sunday that Stevens and assistant coach Don Nachbaur were relieved of their duties, and that former Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins would serve as the Kings’ interim bench boss.
"This is a critical time in our season and our results to date have fallen well below our expectations. With that in mind, this was a difficult decision but one we feel was necessary," Blake said in a statement. "We have a great deal of respect and appreciation for John's time with our organization. He was a key part of our past success, and we have tremendous gratitude for his many contributions."
Sturm was drafted by the Sharks in the first round in 1996, and played parts of eight seasons in San Jose before being traded to the Boston Bruins in the Joe Thornton deal. After retiring from the NHL in 2014, Sturm served as head coach and general manager of the German men’s ice hockey team starting in 2015. He coached Germany to a silver medal in February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Desjardins also coached at the Olympics, leading the Canadian men to a bronze medal. He last coached in the NHL in 2017, and finished a three-year stint coaching the Canucks with a 109-110-27 record. After winning 48 games and making the playoffs in his first season, Vancouver won 61 in the next two seasons combined.
The Kings are 4-8-1, and last in the Pacific Division with nine points. Their minus-17 goal differential is the worst in the NHL, and starting goaltender Jonathan Quick has only played in four games. Los Angeles was a puck-possession juggernaut under previous coach Darryl Sutter, but was middle-of-the-pack under Stevens.