NHL Notebook: Adrian Kempe says ‘most of the’ LA Kings players liked recently fired Todd McLellan, and domestic violence charge dropped against Boston Bruins’ Milan Lucic

Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
2 months ago
It’s never an easy time around an NHL franchise when a head coach is dismissed.
And in most cases, it’s usually the result of players not playing up to their potential. Replacing a coach, and getting a new voice in the room, is often something that provides a much-needed spark to clubs — just look at this year’s Edmonton Oilers.
In a recent interview with Swedish news outlet HockeySverige, LA Kings forward Adrian Kempe talked about his club’s decision to cut bait with long-time coach Todd McLellan.
Kempe said these sorts of things aren’t easy, and that McLellan was a well-liked member of that organization.
“It’s always sad when someone has to leave the organization, whether it’s a player or a leader,” Kempe told HockeySverige. “I know that most of the team liked him and they’ve had him for a long time. He helped me go from the player I was to the player I am today. I have a lot to thank him for.
“These things happen in this sport and in this league. A lot can happen when things aren’t going well for the team… Now it’s just about looking forward. We shouldn’t forget what’s behind us, but we should look forward and start fresh.”
Kempe, 27, is now in his eighth year in the NHL after the Kings drafted him 29th overall in the 2014 draft. Jim Hillier, hired to replace McLellan on an interim basis, is now the fourth head coach Kempe will have played under.
“I’ve had quite a few different coaches since I came to the Kings, especially in my first years,” Kempe told HockeySverige, “But then it was a bit different. Back then, I didn’t really know what to expect and I never had a coach for any length of time.
“It was a lot of in and out. Now I’ve had Todd for my last five years, so he’s the coach I’ve had the longest in my career.”
Through it all, Kempe, whose 17 goals and 45 points in 51 games have him on pace for his most productive season in the NHL, realizes that there are much bigger things to be concerned about this season.
“Right now, it’s all about winning and making it to the playoffs. I’m not thinking about much else,” he added in the interview. “With the team we have and the pressure we have, we need to win more games at home to make it to the playoffs. That’s the goal we have.”


Charge dropped against Lucic

Boston prosecutors have dropped a domestic violence charge against Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic Friday.
According to the Associated Press, Lucic’s wife invoked martial privilege, making it “impossible for (prosecutors) to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Lucic’s wife opted not to testify, the AP reported, saying a “motion by prosecutors to admit 911 call information into evidence was denied, effectively ending their court case, they said.”
In a statement to the AP, James Borghesani, chief of communications for Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden, said situations like this are common in cases surrounding domestic violence.
“This situation is something prosecutors encounter quite often in matters involving domestic violence charges.,” he said. “We handled this case exactly as we would any other presenting a similar set of circumstances.”
Lucic was charged with assault and battery on a family member in relation to a November 2023 incident. According to a copy of the police report, Lucic was alleged to have pulled his wife, Brittany Lucic’s hair having attempted to choke her. Police reported seeing redness on her chest, and that Milan appeared intoxicated.
Lucic, who signed a one-year, $1-million deal with the Boston Bruins this past offseason, had appeared in four games earlier this season, but missed time due to a lower-body injury. He took an indefinite leave of absence, entering the NHL/NHLPA’s player assistance program.
It’s unclear if the veteran of 17 seasons and 1177 games will return to the Bruins this season.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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