Sabres coach Nolan shuffling staff of assistants

JOHN WAWROW AP Sports Writer Published:

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- The overhaul is continuing in Buffalo after Sabres coach Ted Nolan purged most of his staff of assistants on Wednesday.

Goalie coach Jim Corsi will not return, and assistant Teppo Numminen's contract will not be renewed, the Sabres announced. Two other assistants, Joe Sacco and Jerry Forton, have a choice to stay with the Sabres after being offered jobs within the team's hockey department.

The moves came three days after the Sabres (21-51-10) finished last in the standings, and closed one the worst and most tumultuous seasons in their 44-year history.

The shake-up doesn't come as a surprise. Nolan inherited the staff in November, after being hired on an interim basis to replace Ron Rolston.

Nolan has since been signed to a three-year contract and it was widely anticipated that he would begin hiring his own staff this offseason.

Former NHL goalie Arturs Irbe is regarded a potential candidate to join Nolan's staff. Irbe is from Latvia and has previously worked with Nolan, who has spent the past three years coaching the country's national team.

Corsi was the Sabres' longest tenured assistant after completing his 16th season in Buffalo. He played a role in mentoring former Sabres' great Dominik Hasek and then Ryan Miller, who was traded to St. Louis on Feb. 28.

Numminen, a former NHL defenseman, completed his third season in Buffalo after being first hired by former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff.

Sacco, the former Colorado Avalanche head coach, and Forton were hired by Rolston last offseason.

In the meantime, Sacco will be working as an assistant under United States coach Peter Laviolette at the World Hockey championships in Belarus next month.

The Sabres also announced they're adding a second minor-league affiliate after reaching a deal with Elmira (N.Y.) of the ECHL. Elmira will complement the Sabres' top affiliate, AHL Rochester. Both minor-league teams are located within 150 miles of Buffalo.

Buffalo is in the midst of rebuilding from scratch. Through a series of trades, the Sabres have stockpiled a significant number of draft picks spread over the next three years, spurring the team's need to add another affiliate.