Kings fire Todd McLellan, name Jim Hiller as interim head coach
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The Los Angeles Kings announced on Friday that they’ve fired head coach Todd McLellan, naming Jim Hiller as the team’s interim head coach.
The move comes after a disastrous stretch for the Kings, where the team won just three of their past 17 games.
McLellan first joined the Kings in 2019, and was in his fifth season with the team. He ends his tenure in Los Angeles with a 164-130-44 record. Meanwhile, Hiller joined the team as an assistant coach in 2022, and this will be his first opportunity in an NHL head coaching role.
It’s really a tale of two different halves of the season for McLellan and the Kings, to this point. Through the first 20 games or so of the season, Los Angeles had established themselves as a top threat in the West, and looked to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
From about mid-December onwards though, it’s been a complete 180. The Kings haven’t been able to build any momentum, and they’ve now quickly fallen to the Wildcard picture.
While McLellan has been a big part of the team’s fairly successful rebuild, leading the Kings back to the playoffs in 2022 and 2023, it’s difficult to argue with the team needing some kind of a jolt. The slide isn’t temporary, but something that’s been sustained now over a period of a couple months, and with Los Angeles looking to compete now, there’s huge urgency to get things back on track.
The firing also comes just shortly after Rob Blake said McLellan would remain the team’s head coach for the rest of the year.