Buffalo Sabres Fire Head Coach Phil Housley

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BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 20: Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley watches play from the bench during the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at the KeyBank Center on October 20, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

The Buffalo Sabres have announced it has fired head coach Phil Housley. General manager Jason Botterill made the announcement on Sunday.

Sabres Fire Coach Phil Housley

The Buffalo Sabres have parted ways with Phil Housley. This season, the team finished with a record of 33 wins, 39 losses and 10 overtime losses. Buffalo finished in sit in sixth place in the Atlantic Division.

This two-year stint with the Sabres was Housley’s first NHL coaching stint.  His overall record was 58-84-22 in two campaigns. The 2018-19 season was the Sabres best season and that included a 10-game winning streak that had Buffalo on top of the league for a spell.

He was an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators from 2013-17 and helped build up their power play. Housley previously coached Stillwater High School in Oak Park Heights, Minn. from 2004-13. The Saint Paul, Minn. native was a decorated NHL defenceman 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. He retired in 2003.

Botterill will hold a press conference later in the day on Sunday to outline the team’s plans going forward.

What This Means for the Team’s Future

It’s another coaching change for the team that now possesses the league’s longest playoff drought. Buffalo has not made the post-season since 2011, but the Sabres’ streak gave their fans hope.

However, that came crashing down in the last few months of the season. Cracks seem to form near the end of the season and Buffalo hadn’t won back-to-back games since Dec. 13 prior to the last two games of the season.

The fan base is starved for a winner and does have a few young pieces in Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Dahlin to build around. However, the team will need to answer their goaltending and defensive issues. They also need to find a way to keep Jeff Skinner in free agency.

BUFFALO, NY – OCTOBER 20: Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley watches play from the bench during the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at the KeyBank Center on October 20, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

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