Assuming Jeff Blashill gets Mike Babcock's old job in Detroit when the AHL season ends and assuming the Bruins finally decide to keep Claude Julien, the lone NHL coaching vacancy is in New Jersey. And a very familiar name has emerged at the top of the list of new Devils GM Ray Shero.
Phil Housley, the longtime Sabres defenseman who is currently an assistant coach in Nashville, appears to be the frontrunner for the job, according to Saturday's Newark Star-Ledger. The Devils were believed to be considering former Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher, Washington Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach John Hynes. Dan Bylsma, Shero's coach in Pittsburgh, was also a candidate before taking the job in Buffalo.
Housley played for the Sabres from 1982-1990, cracking the lineup immediately as an 18-year-old after being taken sixth overall in the '82 draft. He remains fourth in assists (380) and fifth in points (558) on Buffalo's all-time list in a career that ended here when he was traded to Winnipeg for Dale Hawerchuk in 1990.
Housley's career lasted through 2003 with eight teams and his 1,232 points make him the highest-scoring U.S. defenseman in NHL history and second in American players to Mike Modano. He played 22 games for the Devils in 1996.
And, of course, who can forget Rick Jeanneret's classic calls of "Wowie Housley"? (Which YouTube has miserably failed to produce upon a search today. Apologies!)