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Report: Sabres don’t contact Tocchet about coaching vacancy

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Phil Housley, Scott Arniel among the remaining options

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres haven’t contacted Penguins assistant Rick Tocchet for their head coaching position according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

“I'm surprised to learn the Sabres did not contact Rick Tocchet about coaching vacancy,” tweeted Dreger this morning.

Tocchet has been with the Penguins since 2012, meaning new Sabres general manager Jason Botterill is very familiar with him. He was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning for two years, totaling a 53-69-26 record.

Back in 2007 Tocchet was connected to a gambling ring, which could have hurt his chances at getting a head coaching gig. He was out of the NHL for two years after pleading guilty.

The removal of Tocchet leaves former Sabres defenseman and Nashville Predators assistant Phil Housley as the front runner for the position. Scott Arniel is still in the mix according to John Vogl of the Buffalo News. Washington assistant Todd Reirden is also an option, as well as Penguins assistant Jacques Martin.

Botterill told Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News that it was within the realm of possibility that the coach would be hired before next week. With the Florida Panthers hiring former Sabres defenseman Bob Boughner as their coach, the Sabres are the last open job in the league.