Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill announced that the Sabres have fired head coach Phil Housley after two years behind the bench. The head coach went 58-84-22 in those two years and struggled to inspire a young team with a tremendous amount of talent.
Housley, who was hired without any coaching experience, often struggled to adjust his system to his team and seemed to be lacking in his post-game messages to the team. The team especially struggled in goals allowed as they were outscored 546-419 this season, allowing an average of 3.33 goals per game, which ranked 30th in the league. It’s a far cry from where the team stood in November this past season when the Sabres had the best record in the NHL and eventually plummeted to sixth overall in the Atlantic Division with a 33-39-10 overall record. Regardless, many people felt that Housley was likely to be given another year, but the team really struggled down the stretch as they lost 16 of 17 games to finish the season before winning their last two games of the season.
While Botterill and the Sabres are expected to make an extensive search for a new head coach, the team also will give serious consideration to their AHL coach, Rochester Americans head coach Chris Taylor. Other names already mentioned in association with the opening are Alain Vigneault and Todd Richards. Once the team hires a new coach, the Sabres will have had six coaches over the past seven years.
With multiple coaches having been fired during the season and the firing of Florida’s Bob Boughner this morning, there are now eight coaching positions open this offseason.