It’s become almost tradition for John Stevens and
Every summer, Stevens and Holmgren have breakfast at the Jersey Shore. Only about four miles on the waterway separate them — Stevens in Sea Isle City and Holmgren in Avalon. They talk about anything other than hockey: their kids and fishing, among other topics. By the time they're done, it's no longer breakfast.
"It usually lasts four or five hours," Holmgren said.
They couldn’t do it this summer because Stevens was preparing for his first season as head coach of the
"I think everything I had in hockey I'm indebted to them for, both playing and [after]," Stevens said. "They brought me back as a player, and when I got injured, gave me the opportunity to coach before I was probably ready, knowing that I'd work hard at it."
It was Flyers senior vice president Bob Clarke who first asked minor leaguer Stevens to attend a coaches' clinic, and Stevens was on his way.
"I got an eye injury where he called my wife before he called me and told my wife I was going to coach," Stevens said. "That's the kind of guy he is, but if you know Clarkie and Holmgren and those people, they're as good as it gets in the game, and my family owes them a lot."
Stevens started his coaching career with the
“He was such an intelligent player, even though he didn’t have a great career as an
Stevens and the Kings are 0-2-1 on this trip but so far it’s been a successful transition from
"He hasn't snapped yet," Anze Kopitar said. "I think we're all waiting for that at some point."
Stevens credits Sutter for showing him how to read a team emotionally. He held an outdoor practice in New York, a day after a lifeless loss to the
“Johnny knows how to have fun at certain times, and he knows how to be stern and kind of lose it on us every once in a while too,”
Stevens was energized Sunday in his return to the area he called home for 18 years, and where he spent his day with the
"It's where I raised my family," Stevens said. "It's home for my kids. If you ask them where they're from, this is where they're from."
KINGS UP NEXT
When: 4 p.m. PST, Monday.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Update: The Flyers on Saturday became the third team in NHL history to win six straight games or more immediately after a winless stretch of at least 10 games (0-5-5). They did it on Shayne Gostisbehere’s fifth career regular-season overtime goal. Only