TAMPA BAY, FL (WKBW) — Phil Housley’s job as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres is safe, at least for now.
While in Tampa Bay preparing for Thursday’s game against the Lightning, Sabres general manager Jason Botterill spoke with reporters and said the team is not considering a coaching change.
"We’ve made progress as an organization compared to last year,” Botterill told reporters. “We’ve been in a position where we’ve been in games. I see the results on the ice. I see the communication that we’re going through here. There’s not going to be a coaching change."
Botterill was also asked about the upcoming trade deadline, explaining he’ll continue to explore options but is focusing on the development of players already within the organization.
“We’re always looking to make additions to our group of players, to help our players out,” Botterill told reporters in Tampa Bay. “We’re not going to change our model and our focus on trying to bring players in that are going to help this team not only this year but for the future. That’s what we’re looking at."
The NHL trade deadline is Monday, February 25 at 3:00 p.m.
“Our management staff is looking very hard over the next week to making moves,” Botterill said. “If it happens, great. If it’s not, then we’re looking over the next couple months to make moves."
What else is Jason Botterill supposed to say? Even if the team was considering a coaching change, Botterill wouldn’t admit that to reporters with 23 games left in the regular season.
We really won’t learn about Housley’s future until the year-end press conference with Botterill at the end of the season.
While it sounds cliché, these last few weeks of the season are important. If the Sabres respond and show improvement, I understand Housley getting one more year to prove he’s the guy to end the Sabres playoff drought. If they continue to plummet, the argument to make a coaching change grows even stronger.