South St. Paul’s Phil Housley hired as head coach of Buffalo Sabres

‘It caps a rapid rise up the coaching ranks for Housley, who was coaching at Stillwater High School a mere four years ago while also working closely with USA Hockey.’

Buffalo Sabres bring back Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley as coach

‘Housley was inducted into both the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and Hockey Hall of Fame, capping a 1,495-game career as a defenseman. His time as an assistant coach in Nashville peaked in 2016-17, when he and the Predators staff oversaw a run to the Stanley Cup Final against the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins.’

Penguins could lose valuable Rick Tocchet

‘Word out of Buffalo is Tocchet and Nashville assistant Phil Housley are the top candidates for the job, the NHL’s only vacant head coaching position. Some say Housley is the favorite because he was the Sabres’ No. 1 draft choice in 1982, played eight seasons for them and is in their Hall of Fame, as well as the Hockey Hall of Fame. Hiring him would please the Buffalo fans. But others around the team say Tocchet is the favorite because he has NHL head coaching experience with Tampa Bay (2008-10) and has ties to new Sabres general manager Jason Botterill, a top-notch hockey man who was Jim Rutherford’s top assistant with the Penguins before taking the Buffalo job in May. Former Penguins assistant Todd Reirden, now with Washington, also is believed to have been interviewed and has a relationship with Botterill. A hiring could come this week.’

Jim Rutherford invites Sabres GM Jason Botterill to Stanley Cup celebration

‘“It’s a finality to the whole situation,” Botterill said on the ice afterward. “Been busy in Buffalo the last few weeks. Trying to get things taken care of there. I was always watching the games, though. I’m excited about my future now in Buffalo, but this is a great way to finish things off here.”’

In Buffalo, it’s still not a goal

‘Buffalo defenceman Jay McKee, who won an Allan Cup with the Dundas Real McCoys 15 years later, said to me after the game: “I don’t know if the guys will ever be able to put this behind us.”‘

Asplund’s joy message

‘”It’s very turbulent in Buffalo right now, considering that they will have new coaches in both NHL and AHL. And then they want to have as many contract places as possible as they get together both NHL and AHL troops, “says Asplund.’

Notre Dame hockey junior goaltender Cal Petersen to turn pro

‘Petersen was a fifth round pick (129th overall) by Buffalo in the 2013 NHL Draft. He could choose to sign with the Sabres or become a free agent later this summer.’

Sabres interested in Penguins director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton

‘The Sabres also are believed to have interest in Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet as a candidate to replace Dan Bylsma, who was fired as head coach after the 2016-17 season.’

Botterill has his work cut out for him in Buffalo

‘”The skill set he brings was a big factor in them being interested and I think (Jason) himself admitted, even though he spent an extra year or two in Pittsburgh than he thought, it turned out to be really productive learning, too,” said Cal Botterill. “I think even though he may have wanted Jim’s job, he really enjoyed working with Jim Rutherford. He’s won a (Stanley) Cup, he’s a rational, poised guy. He made some deals that were pretty critical in their success and so I think these were times Jason was still learning and so now he seems and feels ready to go.”‘

Botterill found passion for hockey in Winnipeg

‘As a youngster growing up in Winnipeg, Botterill dreamed of becoming the next Dale Hawerchuk, filling the net with regularity as a member of the Jets.’

Buffalo Sabres name Jason Botterill general manager

‘Botterill’s first task will be to find the Sabres’ fifth head coach since Lindy Ruff was fired in February 2013.’

Associate GM Jason Botterill takes over in Buffalo, leaving gap in Penguins front office

‘He acknowledged he will try to lure some Penguins staffers and scouts to the Niagara Frontier.’

Penguins lose Botterill to Buffalo; GM in no rush to find replacement

‘In his introductory press conference, Botterill, 40, thanked Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle. He called Rutherford, Shero and former assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher “mentors.” He shared his vision of a Sabres team that pushes tempo and dictates possession just like the Penguins.’

Penguins associate GM Jason Botterill to be named Sabres GM

‘Botterill has been the team’s salary-cap guru most of his time with the Penguins and also served as general manager of their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre. The Baby Penguins qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs in each of his eight seasons at the helm.’

Wednesday’s New York Coverage

Rangers to host Sabres at Citi Field for 2018 Winter Classic (New York Daily News)
The Winter Classic will be played at Citi Field (New York Post)
NHL makes it official: Mets, Citi Field host of 2018 Winter Classic (Newark Star Ledger)
Rangers and Sabres to meet in Winter Classic at Citi Field (Bergen Record)
The Rangers will play the Winter Classic at Citi Field against Buffalo (SportsNet New York)