Buffalo Sabres hire Phil Housley as head coach

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In a move that was hardly surprising to the hockey world, the Buffalo Sabres named Housley their new head coach. The Predators hired Housley in 2013 after he coached the USA world junior team to a gold medal and earned a bronze as an assistant for the men's world championship squad.

He replaces Dan Bylsma, who was sacked with general manager Tim Murray in April.

Housley has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators.

As a coach, the 53-year-old spent 2004 to 2013 at the high school level and then jumped to the worldwide stage as he took team United States of America to a goal medal in the 2013 IIHF World Championship.

Housley has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators, but the Hockey Hall of Famer also enjoyed a decorated playing career in western NY. He went on to play 21 seasons in the NHL, and be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"Based on his experience as a player and coach, we think Phil is uniquely qualified to be our head coach and to help us achieve our organizational goals", said Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill. His rookie season featured 19 goals and 66 points in 77 games, plus three goals and seven points in 10 playoff games.

In Buffalo, Housley faces the challenge of taking over a group of players criticized for lacking accountability and leadership last season. Phil Housley, the former Sabres defenseman, will be the next bench boss.

Some 35 years to the day since the then-18-year-old was selected by the Sabres with the No. 6 pick in the National Hockey League draft, Housley is being asked to instill relevance to a franchise coming off its latest offseason house-cleaning. With Terry Pegula looking to bring a championship to Buffalo - be it with the Sabres, the Bill or both, these hirings are just a few steps in the long path ahead for Buffalo.