Sabres hire Phil Housley as Head Coach

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The Buffalo Sabres turned to a familiar face on Thursday when they named Phil Housley as the 18th head coach in franchise history.

Though Housley's ties to Buffalo were hard to overlook, Botterill was more impressed by the work he did over the past four seasons as a Nashville Predators assistant coach. His 1,232 career points rank third among American players and fourth among defensemen all-time. He's a member of the Buffalo Sabres, USA Hockey and IIHF Halls of Fame, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

While the Sabres scouted Housley as a potential suitor for their head coaching position and eventually hired him following the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final, he wasn't the only person they were eyeing from the final series of the National Hockey League season. He is also the Sabres' career and individual-season leader in goals, assists and points by a defenseman.

He has worked as an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators and replaces Dan Bylsma, who was sacked with general manager Tim Murray in April. In 1983, he was part of the First All-Rookie Team.

In Buffalo, Housley faces the challenge of taking over a group of players criticized for lacking accountability and leadership last season.

Housley's departure will leave Peter Laviolette looking to make his first staff hire since forming his initial staff that included Housley and fellow assistant Kevin McCarthy when he was announced the head coach in 2014.

Phil Housley already has visions of the "brand" of hockey he will bring to the Sabres.

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

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