The Sports Report: Meet the new Kings coach (same as the old)

Kings general manager Rob Blake (right) introduces new head coach Jim Hiller, who was the interim coach.
(Greg Beacham / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Jim Hiller is sticking to the hard-nosed, defense-first philosophy that got the Kings to the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs — and no further — in each of the last three seasons.

General manager Rob Blake introduced Hiller as the Kings’ permanent head coach Thursday, retaining the former Kings assistant who took over for the fired Todd McLellan in February and led the team to its third consecutive third-place finish in the Pacific Division and third straight early postseason ouster.

“Where Jim always seemed to come to the top was in the aspect that we’ve had time together,” Blake said. “We’ve seen him work ... [and we’re] very comfortable, very confident in Jim’s approach to challenges. His presence in front of the group is very important to us. The way he can command the room and drive home the point that we make, the direction we want to go together, confident he can drive that home.”


With Blake and Hiller returning after weeks of speculation about their futures, the Kings’ playoff struggles clearly won’t lead to a reboot or a rebuild. They were eliminated by Edmonton on May 1 in five games.

The GM and his first-time head coach remain committed to the style they’ve embraced with their 1-3-1 neutral zone trap. The system has made the Kings a nightmare to face, but players sometimes chafe at the regimented strategy — and even Hiller acknowledges it hinders the Kings’ offensive production.

“We’ve started the process of looking at everything about our game,” Hiller said. “We are a top defensive team in the National Hockey League. Have been for some years now. The identity of the L.A. Kings is a checking team that’s difficult to play against. We feel we have to find some areas where we can create more offense, but not at the expense of what our identity is, and what we’ve taken some time to create.”

Continue reading here

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.


We asked “Should JJ Redick be the next coach of the Lakers?” After 5,598 votes:

Yes, 14.4%
No, 85.6%


All times Pacific


Conference finals

Western Conference

No. 3 Minnesota vs. No. 5 Dallas
Dallas 108, at Minnesota 105 (box score)
Friday at Minnesota, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Sunday at Dallas, 5 p.m., TNT
Tuesday at Dallas, 5:30 p.m., TNT
*Thursday at Minnesota, 5:30 p.m., TNT
*Saturday, June 1 at Dallas, 5:30 p.m., TNT
*Monday, June 3 at Minnesota, 5:30 p.m.. TNT

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Boston vs. No. 6 Indiana
at Boston 133, Indiana 128 (OT) (box score)
at Boston 126, Indiana 110 (box score)
Saturday at Indiana, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Monday at Indiana, 5 p.m., ESPN
*Wednesday at Boston, 5 p.m., ESPN
*Friday, May 31 at Indiana, 5 p.m., ESPN
*Sunday, June 2 at Boston, 5 p.m., ESPN

NBA Finals

Game 1: Thursday, June 6, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Game 2: Sunday, June 9, 5 p.m., ABC
Game 3: Wed., June 12, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Game 4: Friday, June 14, 5:30 p.m., ABC
*Game 5: Monday, June 17, 5:30 p.m., ABC
*Game 6: Thursday, June 20, 5:30 p.m., ABC
*Game 7: Sunday, June 23, 5 p.m., ABC

*-if necessary


From Mike DiGiovanna: James Paxton will take a 5-0 record and 2.84 ERA into his start Friday night at Cincinnati, which is pretty remarkable considering the Dodgers left-hander walked as many batters (24) as he struck out (24) in 44⅓ innings of his first eight games and is ready to send out a search party for one of his best secondary pitches.

“I don’t really know where it is,” Paxton said of his cut-fastball, an essential part of his three-pitch repertoire for most of his 11-year career until this season. “I’m trying to figure it out. We’re playing catch with it, throwing it in the bullpen and stuff like that, and I just haven’t been able to find it yet.”


A lively four-seam fastball that averaged 97.5 mph at its peak in 2016 has always been Paxton’s best pitch, one he’s thrown 62% of the time throughout his career, and he has complemented his heater with a knuckle-curve that he’s thrown 19% of the time and the cutter, which he’s thrown 13% of the time.

Black former players to play in Negro Leagues All-Star Game tribute on Memorial Day weekend

Continue reading here

MLB scores

MLB standings


From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: Maya Brady’s hot bat has UCLA one win away from a return to the Women’s College World Series.


The back-to-back Pac-12 player of the year went three for four at the plate with two home runs in UCLA’s six-inning, 8-0 win over No. 11 Georgia in the first game of the Los Angeles Super Regional on Thursday. The No. 6 Bruins (41-10) can clinch a berth to the World Series with a win Friday at 7 p.m. at Easton Stadium in the best-of-three Super Regional.

Including UCLA’s three wins in the regional round last weekend, Brady is nine for 12 at the plate in four postseason games with six extra base hits and five RBIs. She set up UCLA’s first mercy rule win in the Super Regional since 2010 as Savannah Pola hit the walk-off two-run single in the bottom of the sixth.

Continue reading here


From Kevin Baxter: The women’s national soccer team hasn’t won an Olympic championship in 12 years, its longest drought ever. Yet for Emma Hayes, the woman tasked to get the U.S. back to the top of the medal podium, memories of the 2012 tournament have little to do with gold medals.

The Games were played in England that year and Hayes’ father, Sid, became enamored with the Americans. So much so that when Hayes took the head coaching job with the Chelsea women’s team that same summer, he urged her to remake the English game in the U.S. model.

She did, hoisting 16 trophies. So with little left to win in England, Hayes became a candidate for the U.S. coaching job when it came open last year — and that led to another conversation with her father just before he died in September.


This time he urged her to remake the American team in the Chelsea model.

“I have a 23-minute voice note, my last conversation with my father, and it was all about 2012,” Hayes said Thursday, midway through her first official day as coach of the national team. “At the end of it he goes, ‘You’re going to take it, won’t you?’

Continue reading here


The NCAA and the nation’s five biggest conferences agreed to pay nearly $2.8 billion to settle a host of antitrust claims, a monumental decision that sets the stage for a groundbreaking revenue-sharing model that could start directing millions of dollars directly to athletes as soon as the 2025 fall semester.

The deal still must be approved by the federal judge overseeing the case and challenges could arise, but if the agreement stands it would mark the beginning of a new era in college sports, in which athletes are compensated more like professionals and schools can compete for talent using direct payments.

“There’s no question about it. It’s a huge quantum leap,” said Tom McMillen, the former Maryland basketball player and congressman who led a group of collegiate athletic directors.

Continue reading here



All times Pacific

Conference finals

Western Conference
C1 Dallas vs. P2 Edmonton
Edmonton 3, at Dallas 2 (2 OT) (box score)
Saturday at Dallas, 5 p.m., TNT
Monday at Edmonton, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Wednesday at Edmonton, 5:30 p.m., TNT
*Friday, May 31 at Dallas, TBD, TNT
*Sunday, June 2 at Edmonton, TBD, TNT
*Tuesday, June 4 at Dallas, TBD, TNT

Eastern Conference
M1 New York Rangers vs. A1 Florida
Florida 3, at New York 0 (box score)
Friday at New York, 5 p.m., ESPN
Sunday at Florida, noon, ABC
Tuesday at Florida, 5 p.m., ESPN
*Thursday at New York, 5 p.m., ESPN
*Saturday, June 1 at Florida, 5 p.m., ABC
*Monday, June 3 at New York, 5 p.m., ESPN

*-if necessary


1926 — Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi sets world 3000m record (8:25.4) in Berlin.

1935 — In the first major league night game, the Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 before 25,000 fans in Cincinnati.

1936 — Tony Lazzeri of the New York Yankees drives in 11 runs with a triple and three home runs — two of them grand slams — in a 25-2 rout of the Philadelphia A’s.

1967 — The AFL grants a franchise to the Cincinnati Bengals.

1976 — Muhammad Ali TKOs Richard Dunn in 5 for heavyweight boxing title in Munich.

1980 — Bobby Nystrom’s overtime goal gives the New York Islanders a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 for their first Stanley Cup title.

1981 — The Indianapolis 500 ends in controversy when Mario Andretti, who finished second to Bobby Unser, is declared the winner because Unser broke a rule during a slowdown period near the end of the race. The decision is later reversed, giving Unser credit for the victory, but he is fined $40,000.


1986 — The Montreal Canadiens win their 23rd Stanley Cup, beating the Calgary Flames 4-3 in five games.

1987 — Indianapolis 500: 47-year-old, now part-time driver Al Unser Sr. wins his record-tying 4th Indy title in a huge upset.

1987 — LPGA Championship Women’s Golf, Jack Nicklaus GC: Jane Geddes wins by 1 stroke ahead of runner-up Betsy King.

1988 — The fourth game of the Stanley Cup finals between the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins is postponed with the score tied 3-3 and 3:23 left in the second period when a power failure hits Boston Garden.

1990 — The Edmonton Oilers win their fifth Stanley Cup in seven seasons by beating the Bruins 4-1 in Game 5.

1992 — Al Unser Jr. wins the closest finish at the Indianapolis 500, beating Scott Goodyear by 43-thousandths of a second, barely half a car length. Lyn St. James, the second woman to race at Indy, finishes 11th.


1998 — Indianapolis 500: American ex-Formula One driver Eddie Cheever Jr finishes 3 seconds ahead of 1996 winner Buddy Lazier; first Indy fully sanctioned by the IRL.

2009 — Brazil’s Helio Castroneves becomes the ninth driver to win the Indianapolis 500 three times.

2015 — Senior PGA Championship, French Lick Resort: Defending champion Colin Montgomerie wins by 4 strokes over Esteban Toledo.

Compiled by the Associated Press

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.