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New Assistant Coach Phil Housley: Impact Wrench

Photo by: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Photo by: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Less than 24 hours after the announcement from David Poile that assistant coach Peter Horachek was relieved of duties from the Nashville Predators, news broke yesterday that Phil Housley would be taking over the bench duties previously held by Horachek. These two moves mark a significant change in philosophy and tactics employed by the Predators since their inaugural season…a change that, for some followers of the Gold and Blue, may be long overdue.

Housley has been very busy coaching up some of the more talented U.S. players over the last several years. His resume speaks for itself with a bronze medal this year for the U.S. in Sweden at the World Championships where he served as an assistant coach. He also guided the U.S. Junior team to gold at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Housley is considered to be one of the greatest defenseman in NHL history, ranking fourth all time in points for defensemen. Until a few years back, he held the record for most points by an American born player with 1,232 points while playing in 1,495 games.

Housley brings the offensive/defensive philosophy to the Nashville Predators that worked extremely well for the World Juniors this year, where the U.S. team won Gold. Out of the top three points scorers for the U.S. Junior team two of them were defensemen (Jones and Trouba). One thing the Predators have always struggled with is scoring, but having Weber and Suter together provided a stopgap for the naysayers. With the subtraction of Suter, Weber was shouldered with the offensive burden of the Predators defense, which he took in stride leading the team in points. Housley will use the Predators youth (Josi, Blum, Ellis, Bartley) to begin the process of moving the puck forward and keeping it squarely in the offensive zone with a barrage of shots from the outside through shooting lanes. With Hornqvist and Bourque locked in for a few more years, the Predators have forwards willing to take the beating down front to tip-in or deposit rebound chances after the bullets coming from the blue-line.

Housley has immense success guiding the play and development of younger players. His experience in the NHL and resume of success, capped off with induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and the IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame, are the building blocks for offensive and defensive superiority for the Predators.

Will this lean toward a total offensive game from the blue-line solve the Predators scoring woes? Will a changing of the guard shake things up for the better? Is it possible that a team that relies so heavily on defense might take a defensive step back under Housley’s tutelage? Only time will tell, but coupled with the potential off-season moves Poile and company make it could help to provide Housley and Trotz with the pieces to make next season much more successful than the last.


Question, comments, interjections? We want to hear from you below…Do you like what the Predators did? Were you a fan of Horachek? Did the Predators handle the situation well? Sound off below or feel free to ask us on Twitter @Preducated or @ThePredatorial.

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