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Sabres name Phil Housley next head coach

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The former Nashville assistant and Sabres defenseman in the 18th coach in franchise history

NHL: Nashville Predators at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly two months after the Sabres fired Dan Bylsma, they finally have a new head coach. Phil Housley, the former Sabres defenseman, will be the next bench boss. He’ll be introduced to the media at a press conference today at 4 p.m.

“Based on his experience as a player and coach, we think Phil is uniquely qualified to be our head coach and to help us achieve our organizational goals,” Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill told the Buffalo News. “His approach to the game aligns with the way we envision our hockey team playing, and we’re excited to see where his leadership will take us in the future.”

Housley has spent the last four years as an assistant in Nashville focusing on the Predators defense. He’s coming off a Stanley Cup run that ended with a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week.

He’s also spent time as the head coach of the U.S. at the World Juniors, winning a gold medal with the team in 2013.

TSN’s Darren Dreger also tweeted there are whispers former Islanders head coach Jack Capuano will join Housley as an assistant or associate head coach.

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. He’ll be the 18th head coach in the history of the franchise.

The hiring comes after reports earlier today that the Sabres didn’t contact Penguins assistant Rick Tocchet, considered one of the favorites to land the position.