Sunday, 25 June, 2017

Buffalo Sabres hire Phil Housley as head coach

Nashville Predators assistant coach Phil Housley Nashville Predators assistant coach Phil Housley
Nathaniel Diaz | 16 June, 2017, 06:19

The signing was rumored to be in the works for a few days but was finally confirmed and was made official by the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. He went on to play eight seasons in Buffalo, ranking fifth in team history in points (558) and games played (608).

That career earned him an induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015. Housley was an assistant coach for the Nashville Predators, and the team had to wait until the Predators' Stanley Cup Final was finished before hiring Housley.

Housley retired from the National Hockey League in 2003 with the most points (1,232) and games played (1,495) by an American born player.

The sixth overall pick in the 1982 NHL Draft immediately became a presence on the Sabres' blue line, tallying 19 goals and 66 points in 77 games as a rookie.

2004 Season Player Jason Botterill of the Buffalo Sabres
2004 Season Player Jason Botterill of the Buffalo Sabres

Housley also has an extensive coaching resume with the United States National Team, as he led Team USA to the gold medal as head coach in the 2013 World Junior Championships.

Housley replaces Dan Bylsma, who was sacked by Buffalo in April after two mediocre seasons with the team.

In Buffalo, Housley faces the challenge of taking over a group of players criticized for lacking accountability and leadership last season. Fast forward 35 years, he's now the franchise's head coach. With a rebuild still under way in Buffalo, the Sabres will now have to decide which direction they're heading in with decisions to make on players such as Evander Kane.

His acumen as a defensive coach helped develop players like Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis with the Predators into outstanding blueliners, and the Sabres need a teacher like that for a moribund defense corps.

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