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Former Sabres coach Phil Housley hired as assistant in Arizona

Phil Housley was not out of a coaching job for long.

A source told The Buffalo News late Thursday night that the former Buffalo Sabres coach was hired as an assistant by the Arizona Coyotes, where he will oversee the team's defensemen -- the same role he held with the Nashville Predators from 2013-17. The Coyotes have yet to announce Housley joining the team.

The 55-year-old had a 58-84-22 record during his two seasons with the Sabres, both of which ended with Buffalo receiving a lottery draft pick, and was replaced by Ralph Krueger last month.

Prior to winning Housley's final game as coach, the Sabres had not won back-to-back games since Dec. 13, and were winless in 14 consecutive road games. Buffalo was shut out five times in 12 games from March 9-31, including three in a row, and won only two games during the month.

Prior to returning to Buffalo, Housley spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators, helping them reach the Stanley Cup final in 2016-17. His first NHL coaching opportunity came in 2013 after he coached the U.S. world junior team to a gold medal and earned bronze as an assistant at the men's world championship.

Drafted sixth overall by the Sabres in 1982, Housley had 19 goals among 66 points in 77 games as a rookie, adding seven points in 10 playoff games. He spent the first eight years of his career with the franchise and ranks fifth in its history with 558 points in 608 games.

Housley retired in 2003 with the most points (1,232) and games played (1,495) by an American-born player. He was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015. His hiring was universally lauded at the time.

Housley is joining the coaching staff of Rick Tocchet, who was believed to be a candidate for the Sabres' coaching vacancy in 2017. The Coyotes ranked sixth in the league in goals against last season, when their defensemen were coached by assistant Scott Allen, whose contract reportedly expires at the end of this month.


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