By Brandon J. Koch
Phil Housley is in his first year as a head coach of an NHL hockey team.
He and his Buffalo Sabres are off to a 4-7-2 start to this young season.
When Housley was introduced as head coach, he talked about playing with speed, pace and always in your face defense.
We expected him right away to fix this defense after a bizarre performance the year before. I wrote about giving GM Jason Botterill patience a few days ago. The same can be said about Phil Housley, but we also need to know that he is learning the ins and outs of being a head hockey coach.
We seen him a couple of times shake up lines, maybe when it shouldn’t have been. He’s trying to tweak things and leaving players in that maybe we think shouldn’t play.
He’s feeling things out. It’s a learning game. He knows how he wants to play, he’s figuring out and learning what players on this team can play in his “system.”
Every hockey player talks about how systems are very close together and there’s not much difference. I think there is in terms of playing defense with Housley.
One big difference between he and Bylsma? Housley wants defense to join the rush, be more involved in offense. It changes things.
While some of us might disagree and criticize Housley for some of the decisions he’s made early this season, just remember: He’s learning.
He is so right with the system he wants to employ. Speed and aggressive defense. I agree it is a learning process and I think its on the right track. He will find out in time who wants to play here and if they can play his system.