Phil Housley is the new head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
“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 GM Jason Botterill in a statement. “His approach to the game aligns with the way we envision our hockey team playing and we’re excited to see where his leadership will take us in the future.”
Housley will leave the Predators organization where he’s been an assistant coach the past four years. He was expected to depart for either Buffalo or Florida.
“With Phil, I just think his impact hasn’t just helped me, but it’s helped everybody on our team, defense and forwards,” Preds d-man P.K. Subban told the Toronto Star during the Stanley Cup Final. “Specifically with the defensemen, working with them every day, Howie has a wealth of knowledge, being one of the best defensemen to ever play the game. His numbers, his career, what he’s accomplished speaks for itself.”
Housley, a former Buffalo d-man, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.
He replaces Dan Bylsma, and will be expected to return a sense of order to the Sabres, among other things.
“Making sure the players understand the head coach is in control” is how Botterill put it last month.