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VGK’s New Assistant Coach Was The Defensive Tactician Behind Multiple Stanley Cups

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in both 2012 and 2014. They did it with a very specific style of play that led to a countless number of teams attempting to copy their way to success. That style relied heavily on possession, shot suppression, and tactically sound defensive hockey in all three zones.

A suddenly familiar name was a huge reason why.

As an assistant coach, John Stevens has an unbelievable track record. The defensive numbers, the penalty kill numbers, all of the possession metrics point to him being a brilliant defensive hockey tactician. -Jesse Cohen, Producer/Host of All The Kings Men Podcast

Stevens stood behind the bench as an assistant coach for the Kings from 2010 to 2017. During that time, he ran LA’s defense which allowed the fewest goals and shots while winning 44 playoff games and two Cups.

There are people who accuse Jonathan Quick of being a “system goalie.” If that’s true, though I don’t subscribe to this theory, it’s John Stevens’ system that made him. -Cohen, Producer/Host of All The Kings Men Podcast

Stevens also was the mastermind behind a penalty kill that boasted an 87% penalty kill in the playoffs and finished above the league average in seven consecutive seasons.

Earlier this week, Stevens was announced as the new assistant coach for the Golden Knights.

We’re definitely looking for someone to run the D and PK. Hopefully look for someone with some experience and knows the West more than I do. –Cassidy to TSN 1200 on 6/20

The only real knock on Stevens is his pair of stints as a head coach in the NHL. In Philadelphia, he got off to a rough start seeing his team finish dead last in his first season. The Flyers turned it around under Stevens earning a playoff berth in his second season and winning multiple rounds before being bounced in the conference final. He was fired shortly into his third season after a 13-11-1 start. In LA, Stevens was promoted to “Associate Head Coach” in 2014 before assuming the job as real head coach in 2017. His Kings made the playoffs but were ultimately swept in the first round by the Golden Knights. 13 games into his second year, he and his 4-8-1 record were kicked to the curb.

I think he is an astute hockey mind and a tremendous human being, but I don’t think that anybody could have done the job he was asked to do with the Kings. -Cohen, Producer/Host of All The Kings Men Podcast

Hoping to have his name engraved in the Cup for the third time, Stevens appears to be the perfect fit to run the Golden Knights’ defense and penalty kill in 2022-23.

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74 Comments

  1. knights fan in minny

    johnny has his work cut out for him

  2. vgk21

    Cassidy and Stevens will be a definite improvement over DeBoer and McGill, IF they junk the pinch and gamble at all times, at all costs system that gave up the most odd man rushes in the league, except for Columbus.

    DeBoer, Spott and McGill tried to “Petro” the entire defense corps. iow, they tried to make stay ay home defensemen like Whitecloud and McNabb into little Bobby Orrs. everybody wanders out of position, everybody becomes a points seeker, and let the forwards play defense, and let the goalies work on their 2-on-1 save techniques.

    yeah, the d corps scored more often than the previous season, but they gave up WAY MORE than they scored…..not just in goals against, but in system and team cohesion and morale. They looked like a poorly coached amateur team scrambling and gambling and running around with no defined roles other than “pinch and hope”.

    if the Vgk can play system-wise more like Boston did under Cassidy, they will reduce the number of breakaways, odd man rushes, slot shots, high danger shots, etc

    iow, their system will be more “goalie friendly”, like Cassidy said.

    even a young goalie like Swayman benefited from it, and LT should be able to do the same.

    • Jim

      I completely agree . Good summation of the problems of last season, and the path ahead this year. The coaching emphasis on reducing goals against gives me hope.

      When your forwards are too often skating backwards, and your dmen are too often skating forward, then your system is bass ackwards.

  3. Mike StG

    Great article Ken! And Vgk21 that’s some pretty spot on analysis as well.

    My expectation is that with a better defensive structure Lehner’s save percentage will end up around .918-.920 by year end. Maybe at least some of the Lehner hate will dissipate or cool off as that starts to become evident.

    I also believe the defensive system changes will positively impact Vegas forwards’ offensive production, and benefit WBK the most. My expectation for Karlsson is 25G and 60 pts. And the Powerkill should be back as well.

    May take a few months but by December the team’s play should be starting to get really dialed in. Assuming the injuries don’t pile up like last season.

    Look forward to some positive results this season!

    • Mike – in all due respect all the defensive structures in the world are not the Lehner solution. He was and is like a fish out of water once he’s down do rebound goals are a given. If he ever was worth a dam that time has long passed. This is performance wise nothing to do with his other short comings. FO needs to acknowledge their screw up and find another sucker to take him off their hands.

      • Mike StG

        Hd,

        I understand your points, but here are my thoughts in response:

        1) Earlier in the year before RL was first injured he was running 5th to 9th in the league at GSAX. His save% was around .915. He was playing at a very high level.
        2) As the season progressed he had a concussion, then later a shoulder injury. His numbers went down.
        3) His numbers declined as the season progressed, but injuries to Martinez, Whitecloud and the better defensive forwards piled up during that period as well. I attribute much of the problem with high danger chances and odd man rushes to that.
        4) Yes, it’s next to impossible for him to recover quickly once he’s no longer on his skates. But the majority of those occurrences are on rebounds off odd man rushes, high danger chances, and cross seam passes. Those should be reduced under Cassidy substantially.
        5) Obviously he doesn’t have the graceful athleticism and ability to make the diving saves of a Fleury, but that is not his style. He plays positional, reading plays, and deeper in net. One of the reasons Fleury often had to make highlight reel saves was that he plays further out of the net due to his smaller size. RL is a big dude, and just his body consumes a huge part of the net even with his deeper position.

        I can understand that many don’t like him, but from the scores of negative comments posted here by so many it seems evident that a lot of that derives from his forthright comments. I really don’t care about what he says, I’m just considering his game and how it will likely (imo) be positively impacted by the coaching change.

        • Mike – l hope you are correct but l stand by my original post concerning Lehner – all the stats in the world were then not know and your right he is huge and also an out of shape dude. He is prone to Injury one way or another and doesn’t possess the stamua to survive the season let alone the playoff if by accident they happen to make it. For the team’s sake l hope your optimism concerning his ability is right but please don’t hold your breath your to good a guy to die young.

  4. Vic

    End the idea of trading Hague and sign the guy. Then teach him to become better as he certainly has the size (6/6 220). He has to learn to play angry defense, and he has shown flashes. He should be bouncing people around as the VGK are grossly deficient in that area. If he scores some points, great. The guy has played 142 NHL games which is usually a time when kids round into shape. Throw in a career +20, and a good case can be made to keep him…at least a little longer.

    Stevens had Alec Martinez when he was in his mid-20s, and now he has an expensive 35 year old shot blocker who hopefully is at 100%. It will be rough to turn this ship around to create a stingy defense when the teams are getting faster and faster. Can Martinez and McNabb keep up? Hutton can be moved out in favor of youth. If that fails, there is always a Hutton-like cheapie out there. Shea and Petro will do what they will do. Whitecloud is perfect for Stevens.

  5. Tim

    Stevens on board I think is a great addition now will he go with his brain or his heart I’m referring to Alex Martinez I personally think we need his 5.9 cap hit and he’s still good enough a team would give us a decent draft pick. I’m sure with the defense he has some say it should be interesting. I agree with keeping Hague if you paid Janmark 2 plus last year surely you can pay Hague about the same and lock him up.
    All my life I’ve always been a positive person and then came year 5 of the Knights and the positivity turned into skepticism because I saw the beginning of the end. Now I’m happy to say my positivity is back and I really see some positive things happening. Everyone always hammers management me included because they have made there share of mistakes. Hiring Cassidy and Stevens are definitely steps in the right direction. I’m still behind trying to move Patch and bringing in Filip Forsberg and I’m still for signing Paul Stansty to a one year contract. Signing Roy is also a must Kolesar not so much. Cassidy has been around and he may have a finger on some players who may help the team and fly under the radar. For now I’m full speed ahead and hope management doesn’t pull some bonehead move. There’s no doubt we have a fractured fan base and hopefully year 6 will make us feel like year one again. Now wouldn’t that be great.

    • knights fan in minny

      stats would be okay for a cheap price he is a responsible center good defensivley he had 20 tallies this past year anything is better then patrick

  6. knights fan in minny

    fiala got close to 8 mill forsberg could get 9 mill

    • Tim

      Not necessarily drafted by McFee who knows how good or bade there relationship is. He’s making 6 million now would he take a 6 year 7.5 million deal I don’t know but I’d sure as hell try.

      • Mike StG

        Tim, hockey insider media is reporting Forsberg and Nashville are basically in agreement on money and term at $9M+ for 8 years (so over $70M total contract value). They’re just working on contract structure now. FYI, for any contract with a different team max contract term would be 7 years, so AAV to match would be north of $10M/year.

        Pipe dream. Focus on realistic options.

      • knights fan in minny

        mcdounagh to the preds do they have the money now for forsberg

        • Mike StG

          Preds still have $18M in cap space, and all their other core pieces are signed for multiple years other than Jeannot and Tolvanen, both have at least 1 yr left.

  7. THE hockey GOD

    you can’t coach skill and ability, if it’s not there

    in other words , if you put lip stick on a pig, it’s still a pig.

    or

    you can put a tuxedo on a goat, it’s still a goat.

    (nudge nudge, wink wink ! Say no more.
    Nudge nudge, wink wink, a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat !!)

    • knights fan in minny

      how about babble on a hockey dunce like you

      • the hockey god

        ^^^ psycho creep stalker alert^^^ any sentence with words containing more than three letter is babble to this stalker piece of shit. The real dunce is him. And he knows it.

        go troll someone else, fucking loser.

        • knights fan in minny

          can we trade you to a different site mr bitter with the trash mouth no one likes you on here

          • arnold rothstein

            ” with the trash mouth no one likes you on here” let’s recap all your trash talk from calling an african american a pig pog to calling people dunces to much much more.

            Nobody here likes YOU minny, take a hike , your trolling has grown old. I hope they throw the book at you. Harassment is illegal. I have documented it all and given it to proper authorities. You have multiple charges against you now.

            Run and hide, don’t come back,.

        • knights fan in minny

          i thought you reported me to the authorities remember i was going to get banned i thought you were the king site police your nothing but a fraud and all talk hockey dunce

        • knights fan in minny

          babble is going of subject i can see that third grade education is not working for you

          • THE hockey GOD

            sick freako likes to stalk people

            mentally unbalanced, harassment is illegal. A case file is being built against you.

            You are going to loonie bin, creep.

          • alex in NLV

            not a real knights fan in minny is a white trash racist whigger. he likes to call African Americans mig mogs because he’s a tiny little man with small hand.s

            his posts prove it, and his boyfriend left him then outed him.

            poor excuse for a human being, more like a piece of the crud that sticks to bottom of your shoe on hot day and begins to smell, like not a real knights fan in minny

          • alex in NLV

            not a real knights fan in minny is an evil rascist piece of dog doo doo

  8. Pistol Pete

    Hiring Stevens. Another smart move by this FO. McPhee and McCrimmon. A wealth of experience.

    • THE hockey GOD

      PP I thought the FO was bane of this forum by the way some people bash them 24/ 7 ?

      I guess I was mistaken, clearer heads prevail.

      • knights fan in minny

        a case file against me who are you magnum pi I’m just like the don in your head hockey dunce

        • the hockey God

          no you are a sick creep who has nothing better to do than to stalk people on internet, a case file is being built by proper authorities. They are going to charge you with many counts of stalking and harassment after being repeatedly warned to stop doing it.

          now go back to your cave, and eat shit , that is only thing you are good for after your boyfriend left you.

          • knights fan in minny

            internet case you’re such a dreamer your nothing but hot air hockey dunce no wonder no one likes you on here warned by who you good one who is coming to arrest me barney miller you’re such a dumb ass make sure you study up tonight for some more babble i own you

          • THE hockey God

            according to Arnold above, another charge is coming your way. No one likes you here you have no friends here, how is that shit tasting ?

            loser, because that is all you will be eating where you are going.

          • arnold rothstein

            he’s such a dumb shit he doesn’t realize that stalking and harassing people on internet is illegal.

            Reality is going to hit this person soon.

          • THE hockey God

            “arnold rothstein
            ” with the trash mouth no one likes you on here” let’s recap all your trash talk from calling an african american a pig pog to calling people dunces to much much more.

            Nobody here likes YOU minny, take a hike , your trolling has grown old. I hope they throw the book at you. Harassment is illegal. I have documented it all and given it to proper authorities. You have multiple charges against you now.

            Run and hide, don’t come back,.”

            RUN AND HIDE you piece of shit

            RUN AND HIDE, they are coming for you !!

            LOSER, btw you have NO fans here.

        • realALEXinNLV

          the only thing inside your head is evil, you white trash whigger

        • niTe Fan with a minnie Me

          not a real knights fan in minny , i have hard on for you, can you mentor me on how to stalk and be a pervert like you ?

          I heard your boyfriend left you because you have small hands.

          Ken won’t ban you because he knows you are really a moe.

  9. niTe Fan with a minnie Me

    not a real knights fan in minny , i have hard on for you, can you mentor me on how to stalk and be a pervert like you ?

    I heard your boyfriend left you because you have small hands.

    Ken won’t ban you because he knows you are really a moe.

  10. niTe Fan with a minnie Me

    I am new here, hello everyone !

  11. realALEXinNLV

    hello every one, i am new here too

  12. arnold rothstein

    Here are the laws that this p

    “person” is violating

    in USA
    Cyber Harassment Laws
    18 U.S. Code Section 2261A prohibits the federal crime of stalking and has been amended to include actions taken online to harass, injure, harm, or intimidate a person.

    In Canada
    Section 264 of the Criminal Code regarding harassment and cyber bullying

    • the hockey God

      looks like his new BFFs will be Rufus, Dufus, and Lukas in jail.

      Probably not much different than present “home” life.

  13. the hockey God

    looks like he’ll be getting new best besties in jail, probably not much different than his home life now,

    • knights fan in minny

      you sound just like a angry democrat hockey dunce

      • the hockey God

        sorry asshole, you are one in BIG trouble not me.

        you sound desperate trying to spin your stalking , creepy behavior, harassment.

        You will be needing a lawyer soon. Don’t call Saul.

        • knights fan in minny

          can i get you a tissue tito

          • THE hockey GOD

            yet another violation

            we are up to 50 counts, you know how many years in can that is ?

            18 U.S. Code Section 2261A prohibits the federal crime of stalking and has been amended to include actions taken online to harass, injure, harm, or intimidate a person.

            In Canada
            Section 264 of the Criminal Code regarding harassment and cyber bullying

  14. the hockey God

    God, Christianity, and Human rights in role of Revolutionary War against Briton. Today I heard on radio some FOX S1 “sports caster” named Mincy, or Mouncy, or some such person I never heard of before. She said “well I don’t celebrate the Fourth of July”. What kind of REAL AMERICAN does not celebrate INDEPENDENCE DAY. It is INDEPENDENCE DAY, not the 4th of July,. I guess this person is NOT a patriot, or maybe not even an American.

    I put together a piece on God’s role in our independence from the papers of people who signed the constitution and wrote papers before and during the revolution. Two such people are James Otis and Samual Adams ( the one and only, they named a beer after him).

    With lull in hockey season, in middle of July. And not much to talke about except idiot stalkers and people pulling rosters out of there, ahem hats.

  15. the hockey God

    The political writings of James Otis when colonists were being unfairly taxes , among other oppression brown shirt tactics used by “King’s men”, the King being King George:

    Every British Subject in America is, of common Right, by Acts of Parliament, and by the Laws of God and Nature, entitled to all the essential Privileges of Britons. By particular Charters there are peculiar Priviledges granted, as in Justice they might and ought, in Consideration of the arduous Undertaking, to begin so glorious an Empire as British America is rising to. Those Jealousies that some weak and wicked Minds have endeavoured to infuse, with Regard to the Colonies, had their Birth in the Blackness of Darkness, and ’tis great Pity they had not remained there forever. The true Interests of Great Britain and her Plantations are mutual; and what God in his Providence has united, let no man dare attempt to pull asunder.

    In order to excuse if not altogether justify the offensive Passage, and clear it from ambiguity, I beg leave to premise two or three data.
    *
    1. God made all men naturally equal.

    Nor is any new priviledge given by this act to the natives of the colonies, it is meerly as to them a declaration of what they are intitled to by the common law, by their several charters, by the law of nature and nations, and by the law of God, as might be shown at large, had I time or room.”

    Let their be no doubt that James Otis was a typical colonist in their thinking of GOD, Christianity, in founding of this great nation by their written record during the events leading up to revolution. Now lets move on to Samual Adams. BTW Otis’s writings are just sample of his many references to God’s law. There are many, many more.

  16. the hockey God

    Samuel Adams, the “last true American Puritan”

    Yet on that day in York in late September 1777, Samuel Adams, a slightly heavy, gray-haired fifty-five-year-old with large dark blue eyes, a prominent nose, and a high forehead, gave his fellow members of Congress a talk of encouragement.

    “If we despond, public confidence is destroyed, the people will no longer yield their support to a hopeless contest, and American liberty is no more,” Samuel Adams said in the voice John Adams described as clear and harmonious. “Through the darkness which shrouds our prospects the ark of safety is visible. Despondency becomes not the dignity of our cause, nor the character of those who are its supporters.”

    He went on, comparing the American revolutionaries to the Israelites who had left the slavery of Egypt. According to Exodus, chapter 13, God had guided them in the wilderness with a “pillar of cloud by day” and a “pillar of fire by night.” Samuel Adams addressed the delegates:

    Let us awaken then, and evince a different spirit, — a spirit that shall inspire the people with confidence in themselves and in us, — a spirit that will encourage them to persevere in this glorious struggle, until their rights and liberties shall be established on a rock. We have proclaimed to the world our determination “to die freemen, rather than to live slaves.” We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust. Numerous have been the manifestations of God’s providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had “our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.” We have been reduced to distress, and the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up. Let us still rely in humble confidence on Him who is mighty to save. Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection.

    THIS IS OUR HISTORY !!! and to those who complain, politics politics politics. THIS IS HISTORY. And stop your whining,

    HAPPY INDEPENCE DAY PATRIOTS !!!

    never forget the sacrifices those great men who came before use made to make us today free !!

    Freedom is NOT free. !

    • knights fan in minny

      wow that’s some real riveting hockey stuff hockey dunce

      • THE hockey GOD

        learn to read asshat

        count 51

        18 U.S. Code Section 2261A prohibits the federal crime of stalking and has been amended to include actions taken online to harass, injure, harm, or intimidate a person.

        In Canada
        Section 264 of the Criminal Code regarding harassment and cyber bullying

        • knights fan in minny

          you are such a whiner i bet you got beat up a lot as a kid I’m going to tell just like a little child

      • THE hockey GOD

        it’s the independence day, you moron.

        Why do you HATE AMERICA so much ???

        you have proven you are no true patriot, exposed for being a hater of independence day

        • knights fan in minny

          did you fall and hit your head

          • THE hockey GOD

            no but you obviously did,

            your creepy stalking behavior issues on this site prove
            you are mentally unbalanced, and sick in head. You even admitted
            that you like to trigger people with your troll like comments.

            The authorities have been contacted, your jail cell is being prepared , as well as strait jacket.

  17. Come on, Minny. You’ve made your distaste for him known for months. He can be a n irritant, to be sure. BUT: I have been there, harassed relentlessly. It was F- CKED up THEN, and it’s F-CKED up NOW.

    • THE hockey GOD

      TS
      irritant ??? No way. I post useful stuff. REgardless of content, it is factual.

      This person is in big trouble, repeated violations. Case study on going.

      He’ll be in jail soon.

      18 U.S. Code Section 2261A prohibits the federal crime of stalking and has been amended to include actions taken online to harass, injure, harm, or intimidate a person.

      In Canada
      Section 264 of the Criminal Code regarding harassment and cyber bullying

      • knights fan in minny

        okay perry mason you’re such a fraud

        • THE hockey GOD

          “what does this have to with hockey”
          creepy stalker, psycho nut job

          take your hypocrisy and stick it with the shit you are not eating in your troll cave.

      • knights fan in minny

        your intimidated by me on a sports site busting balls you are a pussy boy

        • THE hockey GOD

          punks like you who break the law couldn’t intimidate a fly, you are going to JAIL

          counts 52 and 53, and still running.

          All this is being recorded.

          Your time of reckoning with the law is coming.

        • Arnold Rothstein

          “your intimidated by me ”

          he just admitted to violating the law, saying he’s trying to bully and intimidate people on internet.

          Not good.

          Copied and submitted to authorities.

          • knights fan in minny

            how does saying your intimidated by me say i admitted anything arnold rothstein the vegas gangster you and the hockey dunce must be butt buddies

      • Um…”USEFUL” is sometimes questionable–LOL. Hope this CRAP stops soon….for Y-O-U-R SAKE, AND A-L-L OF OURS!!
        PEACE, AND ENJOY THIS DAY OF FREEDOM!

  18. THE hockey GOD

    By signing the declaration of independence the 56 AMERICAN (colonists)
    showed that they PLEDGED their lives , their fortunes, their families, and their SACRED honor!!

    It was no IDLE pledge.

    Nine signers died of wounds suffered during the revolutionary war.

    Five were captured or imprisoned, their wives , children were jailed, mistreated, or left penniless.

    Twelve signers had their houses burned down.

    Seventeen signers lost everything they owned.

    No signers defected. Their honor like their nation, remain intact.

    Freedom
    is
    NOT
    FREE. Know your American history !

  19. Tim

    Is anyone besides me tired of reading comments of minny and THG doing there Hatfield and McCoy routine. I thought this was a hockey site to share your opinion on HOCKEY not your own personal vendetta. It gets a little old day after day don’t you both think?

    • Tim, glad you spoke up. Maybe if more do, it will stop. When the harasser realizes he is UNLIKED AND UNWELCOME, he’ll leave the site.
      The site itself should block him permanently. I, too, had this problem when I first joined the site, and it DID STOP, but only after months. Arnold R took action on my behalf, as well, so I’m pretty sure this, too, will STOP.

  20. This communication/argument between 2 irritating participants is a dumb as the organization the site covers. Get a life… Both of you and talk about the dumbass VGK organization and not yourselves.

    Be critical of this stupid organization that has stuck with McCrimmon who has destroyed a good thing in very short order.

  21. Ken

    I came over to this site just to pass some time, while my regular blog is on a summer break. It seems to me the guy that runs this blog doesn’t care WHAT is written as long as he makes his money off it?

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