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Buffalo Sabres hire Phil Housley as head coach

16 June 2017

The Buffalo Sabres made the right call on Thursday, calling on Phil Housley to become their 18th head coach in franchise history.

It's a home coming for Housley, who was selected with the No. 6 pick in the 1982 draft by Buffalo and spent his first eight of his 21 National Hockey League 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.

And Housley was hired by another new-comer, general manager Jason Botterill.

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James had won two titles as part of another "super team" in Miami but last year's crown meant even more to his legacy. Not to go out there and score a number of points, but to just go out there and win the game and make winning plays.

Housley spent eight years of his 21-year Hall of Fame playing career with the Sabres, scoring 178 goals and 558 points in 608 games in the blue and gold. During his career, he played in seven All-Star Games and was named to the First All-Rookie Team in 1983.

Housley is a widely respected coach having spent the past four seasons in Nashville. He is also the Sabres' career and individual-season leader in goals, assists and points by a defenseman. Under his tutelage, Nashville had at least one player finish in the top five in voting for the James Norris Memorial Trophy every season from 2013-14 to 2015-16.

Housley began coaching in his home state in 2004, and was behind the bench at Stillwater for nine years. With a rebuild still under way in Buffalo, the Sabres will now have to decide which direction they're heading in with decisions to make on players such as Evander Kane. 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.

Buffalo Sabres hire Phil Housley as head coach