It had to happen

The firing of Phil Housley on Sunday was something that was necessary moving forward

Bulldog
April 07, 2019 - 2:54 pm

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports

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The Buffalo Sabres had to fire head coach Phil Housley.

That’s the single biggest takeaway from the news on Sunday afternoon.

It simply had to be done. We could go over all of the reasons. The lineup decisions, the explanations for the lineup decisions, the “shot mentality”, saying that the team was in games when they got blown out and shut out all too frequently, especially in March.

But really, the how’s and why’s don’t matter that much. How’s this?

The Sabres were terrible under Housley. That’s really all that matters. The results. For much of the season we talked about how it would look for the Sabres to churn out another coach after only two seasons. I chose to focus on how it would look to keep a coach who produced a last place lottery winner and presided over an epic collapse after a hot start in his two seasons.

The notion of keeping Housley for appearances sake made no sense to me. What would keeping him on be saying about your standard? The NHL churns out coaches with regularity, especially if your team is standing still or worse, sliding backwards.

That’s what the Sabres have been under Housley. They’re worse now than they were when he was hired. Yes, the general manager who hired him bears some responsibility for that too, and Jason Botterill faces renewed scrutiny now that he’s canned his first coach.

The roster lacks depth for sure, and Botterill has had two offseasons to address that and so far has failed. However, the top end of the Sabres' lineup is strong enough that you should expect better results than battling for 26th place in the league.

Botterill did what he had to do on Sunday. He deserves no credit for doing something so obvious. The team was terrible. Of course the coach had to go. Good job.

Now, go figure out a way to avoid having us all re-visiting this two years from now. Because if that happens, I’m betting Botterill won’t be around to preside over the search.

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