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Housley sharing Hall of Fame know-how with Preds

by Mike G. Morreale /

Phil Housley will be one of seven individuals be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 9.

Since joining the Nashville Predators as an assistant coach in May 2013, Phil Housley has been able to share with others those things that benefited him over 21 NHL seasons.

"I like helping in all aspects of the game, whether it's having input with 5-on-5, or working with the defense," Housley said. "Everyone is eager to learn and the players are willing to listen, and that's rewarding. Even veteran players like Shea Weber and Roman Josi are eager to learn.

"When you're working on something and you see the execution, that's the rewarding part."

Housley will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 9.

Coach Peter Laviolette said he appreciates all that Housley has done, specifically his work with Nashville's defensemen. The Predators have gotten statistically better since Housley's arrival, allowing 2.84 goals per game in 2013-14, 2.46 goals in 2014-15, and 2.00 goals through eight games in 2015-16.

"He's a terrific coach," Laviolette said. "If you can get one of the best defenseman to ever play in the NHL to work with your young defense corps, that can only help. Our young guys are skilled, can move the puck, but there's always growing pains on the back end. When you have a guy like Phil, he can sit with them and break things down.

"He's lived it, done it, and done it well, and now he brings that into coaching. It's a valuable tool and asset that we have here that allows him the 1-on-1 time with the young players to develop their game."

One of those players is 21-year-old Seth Jones, the No. 4 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

"He's been great for me the past two years here in Nashville; he knows so much about the game," Jones said. "On the bench, he lets me play my game and lets me explore and be myself. But there's also times when he pulls me aside and explains how I need to be here or do this. I think my development has really come along, and he's definitely been a big part of it."

Jones has five assists and a plus-2 rating, and ranks first on the Predators in shot attempts against per 60 minutes (33.06).

"In juniors, you could get away with a lot, but he talks about consistency and knowing who you're playing against," Jones said. "I think that's very important and something he puts a lot of emphasis on. It's about sticking to your guy and getting pins."

Housley said he has seen a change in Jones' maturity and confidence since he started instructing him the summer after he was drafted.

"There were a lot of ups and downs that first year; a lot of growing pains," Housley said. "In 2014-15, he became a real consistent player. He's going to be a top player in this league for a long time and he's getting stronger. There's always areas to work on in your game. Whether you've been in the League for five years or 15 years, you have to maintain and work on your game. Seth is doing that at a young age.

"He works on his game, wants to get better, wants to be the best and win a championship. He has that drive and is determined to work on things that will only help him become a more consistent player."


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