It sure sounds like Phil Housley wants the Buffalo Sabres’ defense to attack much like the Nashville Predators did during his stay as assistant head coach … not to mention like he did as a Hall of Fame blueliner.
During his introductory press conference as the Sabres’ head coach, Housley did qualify things a bit by saying that he didn’t want to play with “reckless abandon,” yet it’s clear he’s leaning toward aggressive rather than passive approaches.
“I think the brand of hockey is playing with pace, playing fast, and that includes a five-man attack. Our defense is going to be very involved in the play,” Housley said. “We have to play good defense, obviously, but I think if we can get five guys up in the play – whether it’s on a breakout through the neutral zone or in the offensive zone – I think it gets the odds in your favor. It’s going to be fast.”
Housley seems to realize the risk-reward factor that comes with playing an aggressive style, and he brushed off questions about whether the Sabres boast the sort of defensive personnel that could play a style that parallels what Nashville accomplished with its lofty top four.
As exciting as it must be for Sabres fans to hear Housley say that the team can be competitive out of the gate, the style of play should be especially promising. He even emphasized “high-tempo” practices, giving the impression that this young Buffalo team will have a “Go, go, go” mentality.
“We have to give these guys the responsibility to make plays,” Housley said.
Will he get that all to work? That remains to be seen, but either way, it sounds like it will be boring.