BOSTON -- There's an emotional hurdle John Stevens knows he and his players have to overcome tonight when the Los Angeles Kings take the ice against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden.
Stevens, an assistant coach under Terry Murray, was named interim coach after Murray was fired Monday.
"It was a pretty somber mood here today," Stevens said after running the morning skate. "I think Terry has an enormous amount of respect from every guy in that locker room and certainly everybody affiliated with the team. So it's not surprising that there's a very somber mood over the team. That's why we felt it was very important to skate as a group today and just kind of work through it. But it's a process you have to go through. There's no quick fix for it, there's no lightning in a bottle. We talk about the process all the time, but it's very important that we work through the process because of what just transpired."
Stevens, who had been running the Kings' defense during games, will slide down the bench and run the forwards, with assistant coach Jamie Kompon running the defense. While the coaching roles change, the goal for everyone with the 13-12-4 Kings continues to be to live up to the expectations that had many picking the Kings to be near the top of the Western Conference.
"It was a difficult day yesterday for everybody," said Stevens. "I mean, (we were) taken by surprise and then a quick turnaround to try to get ready for Boston here. So I'm not going to lie to you, it's not an easy thing to go through. Certainly not for us. I think we all have to take some responsibility here for the situation we're in, and that goes for Jamie and I, as well.
"There’s big expectations on this team, and the ironic thing is that it's because of the great job that Terry did here. That's why we're considered a team that can do damage in the West, is because of the respect that he's brought here during his time here. So what better challenge than the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Boston Bruins?"
Here's the lineup Stevens and the Kings likely will go with, and here's what the Bruins likely will counter with.