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Get to Know the New LA Kings Coaching Staff

Here's everything you need to know about LA Kings' new Head Coach Willie Desjardins and Assistant Coach Marco Sturm

by LA Kings @LAKings / LAKings.com

On Sunday, 13 games into the regular season, the LA Kings relieved Head Coach John Stevens of his duties, along with assistant coach Don Nachbaur.

In their place, Willie Desjardins was named the new Kings' interim Head Coach and Marco Sturm was named the Assistant Coach.

Tweet from @LAKings: A time of change.READ > https://t.co/UOWaV3vKBo pic.twitter.com/8YyMiyMcRH

With a 4-8-1 start, General Manager Rob Blake was forced to make a change and he's hoping Desjardins will rally the Kings roster. 

"I think what Willie will bring, what we want to bring back, is we've got to get the compete level up on our players and we've got to get the passion back in our game and we expect fully that he can right that and take us in that direction," said Blake in a press conference on Sunday.

Former Dallas Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley agrees. "Willie is a guy that players want to play for. He truly, truly cares about every single guy in the locker room. He cares about his whole coaching staff," Valley said to The Athletic.

Tweet from @LAKings: Chats with Anze Kopitar & Jeff Carter 👋 pic.twitter.com/IJ72YRpCUC

Desjardins isn't taking the opportunity for granted. "I do feel really fortunate to be here," he said to The Athletic. "I think I'm really lucky."

The new head coach isn't wasting a minute and Kings goalie Jack Campbell has noticed.

"I think everybody saw today, first practice, that Willie runs a real up-tempo style, and I think it's exciting for our group," said Campbell to LA Kings Insider. "We have a lot of really skilled players, I think they'll benefit well from it."

Video: Willie Desjardins meets the LA media on 11/5/18

Desjardins spent two years as the assistant coach of the Dallas Stars between 2010-12 and three years as a coach of the Vancouver Canucks between 2014-17.

Having interviewed him in the summer of 2017 when the team was looking for an assistant coach, Blake was familiar with Desjardins.

Even though Desjardins' resume was impressive, he decided to hold out for a head coaching gig and the Canadian Olympic team offered him that spot shortly after. During his tenure with the Canadian Olympic team, he earned a bronze medal at the PyeongChang Games and a gold medal at the Spengler Cup. 

Desjardins now resides in Medicine Hat, Alberta where he has been operating a hockey academy for kids. He's also the owner of a golf course, two RV parks and a mini golf course. Sounds like a fun guy to us.

Tweet from @lakingsinsider: (analysis) Coaching change representative of shortcomings across many levels of the #LAKings organization: https://t.co/tZbqnoeYfH

"You only have so many years that you have a chance to win, and you've got to win now," said Desjardins. "The easy road would be to say that we can't do it this season. You can't afford to waste a season, because you never know what's going to happen."

"It's the same with me. I didn't know if I would get another shot at the NHL, so this is my chance. I've got to make it work, and that's the same message to the players."

Tweet from @lakingsinsider: Building pace and digging in - and some reflection - on Willie Desjardins' first day as coach: https://t.co/0Z1Z0Alz8p

Sturm, who played over 1,000 games in the NHL, joins the team as an Assistant Coach and will be departing his current gig as the German National Team's Head Coach.

"New generational coaching style, success at the international stage, success as a player, tremendous person," said Blake of Sturm's background. 

Former Kings member Tobias Rieder wasn't surprised Sturm jumped at the opportunity to join the Kings' coaching staff.

"I've talked to Marco and he told me his ambition was to come back to the NHL at some point. I know his goal is to be an NHL (head) coach and you have to start as an assistant first and work your way into the league," said Rieder to the Edmonton Sun

Sturm will join Desjardins and the Kings next week as they start this new chapter of the season.

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