(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
After being fired Monday via a phone call, associate coach Peter Horachek was replaced by Phil Housley Tuesday afternoon. Housley will be assistant coach to Barry Trotz for the Nashville Predators entering next season.
General Manager David Poile made the hiring after being one of many who "overlooked" Team USA at the World Championships in Stockholm and Helsinki earlier this month. This appears to be a connection as Housley was assistant coach for the United States during the tournament. It is likely they talked and Poile found Housley to be a good fit for the Predators.
Housley was also head coach of USA's U20 World Juniors' team when they won Gold in January.
“Phil brings a unique skill set to our coaching staff,” Poile said in the news release. “He was one of the most talented offensive defensemen to play in the NHL, and he has worked extensively with young players during his coaching career. He will continue to focus his efforts on our young defensemen and assisting on the power play.”
It is expected that the 49 year old will work with the Nashville defense because he played that position during his 21 year NHL career.
“A coach with history as a defenseman who was offensively gifted and excelled on the power play is something we have never had on our coaching staff,” Trotz said in a press release. “His insight and viewpoint will bring a fresh perspective to our team.”
Currently, Housley is in the US Hockey and IIHF Hall of Fame for his excellence at defense. He ranks fourth among all-time defenseman in points with 1,232 (338g, 894a).
Possibly the best part about the hiring of Housley is the fact that he will challenge Trotz by opening him up to more ideas offensively via the defense. Breakouts, systems and special teams could all be altered with the new coach.
This is an excellent hiring for the Predators and specifically their defense core. Players like Ryan Ellis, Jon Blum, Roman Josi, Victor Bartley and Mattias Ekholm could really benifit from playing under such an outstanding defenseman back in his day.
However, the way Horachek was fired is completely ridiculous. Horachek deserves much better than to be fired over the phone. It was quite surprising to even see him fired at all! Poile did make a significant upgrade, but only time will tell how well it worked out.