The Los Angeles Kings’ very long decline led to the firing of head coach Todd McClellan.
On Friday, the Californian organization indicated that it had shown the door to the man who had been behind its bench since April 2019. It was Jim Hiller who took over as interim head coach. The latter has served as McLellan’s assistant since 2022.
As recently as mid-January, general manager Rob Blake gave the 56-year-old his vote of confidence, ensuring he will remain in his position until the end of the season. However, recent events have changed the situation.
“We want to thank Todd for his hard work and dedication to the organization,” the CEO said in a statement. He did a tremendous job in taking us forward. He has had a positive impact on our group and our community. This was not an easy decision, but at that time we felt that change was necessary.
Blake added, “Jim is a very well-respected member of our team who knows our players.” We are confident in his ability to effectively lead our team during this critical period.”
Since the beginning of January, the Kings have only three wins in 15 games. They are in fourth place in the Pacific Division standings with a record of 23–15–10. The Los Angeles team is in the first two places among the teams prepared for the playoffs in the Western Association.
A ruined beginning
However, the Kings’ campaign got off to a great start. The team notably won its first 11 games on the road in 2023–2024, which represents a National League record.
McLellan had a record of 164–130–44 in 338 games with the Kings. He led his club to the playoffs in the last two campaigns, but were eliminated in the first round by the Edmonton Oilers each time.
The Saskatchewan native coached for the San Jose Sharks and Oilers before joining the Kings. He has a record of 311-163-66 in 540 career games. He was previously one of head coach Mike Babcock’s assistants with the Detroit Red Wings, the team with which he won the Stanley Cup in 2008.