The Los Angeles Kings have fired coach Todd McLellan and replaced him with interim coach Jim Hiller for the rest of the season, the team announced Friday.
Replacing McLellan is the latest development for the Kings in a season that has seen them go from once leading the Pacific Division and reinforcing why they were preseason Stanley Cup contenders to entering the NHL All-Star break in the first of two Western Conference wild-card spots.
McLellan becomes the sixth NHL head coach to get fired this season, with the Edmonton Oilers, the Minnesota Wild, the St. Louis Blues and the New York Islanders all having made changes as early as mid-November.
“He has done a tremendous job in moving us forward and making a positive impact on our group and in our community,” Los Angeles general manager Rob Blake said in a statement. “This was not an easy decision, but we felt the change was necessary at this time. Jim is a well-respected member of our staff who is familiar with our players. We are confident in his ability to lead our team effectively during this pivotal time.”
Questions surrounding McLellan and his future with the club began intensifying in January. The Kings opened the season with a 20-7-4 record only to then lose eight straight games from Dec. 28 through Jan. 13. Los Angeles (23-15-10) has since lost four of its past seven contests and was 15 points behind the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Pacific.