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LA Kings Players Take Responsibility for Coaching Changes

After John Stevens and Don Nachbaur were relieved of their duties, the Kings realized the part they played in these changes

by LA Kings @LAKings /

On Sunday, General Manager Rob Blake relieved both Head Coach John Stevens and Assistant Coach Don Nachbaur of their coaching duties with the LA Kings.

Yesterday, the Kings took to the ice for the first time with the Interim Head Coach Willie Desjardins and then met with the media to answer questions regarding the changes behind the bench.

The players were not shy at acknowledging the part they played in these changes.

"We're certainly responsible for it. We didn't play up to our potential and we know it and he lost the job because of it. We're talking about the reset button, that's the last resort and the last chance really for us to get it going and really not fall behind too deep," Kings Captain Anze Kopitar said.

This was a common theme among the entire roster - not just the captain and not just Kings veterans that have been there through the tenure of Stevens.

Dion Phaneuf, who has only been with the team since this past February, said that it's on the team to correct the course.

"As players, its definitely a lot of reflection because, ultimately, John and Don were both let go because us as players were not getting the job done," Phaneuf said.

With the change to the coaching staff done, the Kings are looking to turn around their 4-8-1 start to the season.

Video: John Stevens fired by the Los Angeles Kings

Blake's goal was to bring some life back to this team. 

"I was looking to get the compete and the passion back, we need our players emotionally involved. It's difficult to win when you're not," Blake said Sunday. "We expect Willie to bring that passion and that excitement to this team and that's why we went in this direction."

Veteran Forward Kyle Clifford agreed that the passion needs to be there.

"Well, you don't get to the bottom of the standings playing with passion," Clifford said. "It's something that has got to be in your game. We've built that type of culture where we had the mindset that we're going win every night before and it's something we have to get back to."

The change starts tonight as the Kings take on the Anaheim Ducks in the first Freeway Face-Off of the season, presented by Blue Shield of California.

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