Buffalo Sabres hire Phil Housley as coach

Scott Arniel right has been associate coach for the Rangers’ Alain Vigneault for four seasons

The Sabres are reaching into their past to find their head coach of the future.

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

The 53-year-old Housley was part of a coaching staff that helped lead the Preds to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history, although they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. He was head coach of the gold medal-winning USA team at the 2013 World Junior championships.

Phil Housley began his Hall of Fame playing career in Buffalo.

It's a homecoming for Housley, who was selected by Buffalo in the first round of the 1982 draft and spent his first eight seasons playing for the Sabres.


The Hall of Famer will tackle a hard job as the Sabres' fifth head coach since the 2012-13 season. His 1,232 career points rank third among American players and fourth among defensemen all-time. In fact, he played more games (608) and scored more points (558) for that franchise than for any of the other seven that followed.

Buffalo finished the 2016-17 season with 78 points, second fewest in the Eastern Conference and in last place in the Atlantic Division.

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.

A member of the Buffalo Sabres, USA Hockey and IIHF Halls of Fame, Housley was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

It appears the Buffalo Sabres are close to hiring Dan Bylsma's replacement behind the bench.

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