He played for the Sabres. He has coaching experience. He could be the right guy for Buffalo.
Yes, that description fits Phil Housley. It also applies to Scott Arniel.
The former Sabres forward and assistant coach has interviewed for the Buffalo job, one source said Thursday, while a second source said Arniel remains in the running. Given Thursday’s surprising report that Buffalo is not interviewing Rick Tocchet, Arniel’s candidacy should be taken very seriously.
Update: The Sabres hired Phil Housley:
The 54-year-old has spent the past four seasons as the associate coach for the New York Rangers. It’s part of a 16-year career behind the bench.
After a two-year run as an assistant for the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League, Arniel joined Lindy Ruff’s staff with the Sabres in 2002-03. He spent three seasons in Buffalo, including a run to the Eastern Conference final in 2005-06, before accepting the head coaching position with Manitoba.
Arniel led the Moose for four seasons, earning AHL Coach of the Year honors in 2008-09 after leading his team to the Calder Cup finals. His success earned him a ticket back to the NHL.
Columbus hired Arniel as its head coach in 2010. He went 34-35-13 in his first year, but the Blue Jackets started just 11-25-5 in 2011-12. Columbus fired Arniel at midseason and replaced him with Todd Richards.
The Chicago Wolves of the AHL hired Arniel as head coach for 2012-13. He went 37-30-9, bringing his career coaching record in the minors to 218-136-42 for a .604 points percentage.
The Rangers’ Alain Vigneault brought in Arniel as an assistant in 2013-14.
In addition to coaching the Sabres, Arniel played in Buffalo from 1986 to 1990. The forward skated in 730 NHL games with Winnipeg, Buffalo and Boston.
Buffalo General Manager Jason Botterill has said he wants to complete his coaching search either late this week or early next week. Housley is considered a candidate along with Washington associate coach Todd Reirden.