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Buffalo Sabres release advanced stats guru Jim Corsi in coaching shuffle

Advanced hockey stats guru Jim Corsi Famed for his fancy stats work, Jim Corsi also made chicken salad out of the Sabres goalies this season. (Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

Ted Nolan's no different than any other boss. Given a choice, he'd rather surround himself with people he knows and trusts. So it's long been expected that he'd sweep out the staff he inherited from Ron Rolston last November.

That axe finally fell today in Buffalo where four of Rolston's former assistant coaches were told they won't be needed next season.

Among the casualties was Jim Corsi, the team's goaltending coach for the past 16 seasons and a man revered by the advanced stats crowd for creating the eponymous rating that affixed value to shots for and against.

It's hard to believe it was a competence issue with Corsi. Buffalo's goalies posted a .918 save percentage, a decent number on its own that looks a whole lot better in the context of the team's porous defense and the six-man deep goalie rotation that included three rookies.

That suggests some fairly adept coaching, but Corsi is not Nolan's guy. Rumors are swirling that Arturs Irbe might be in the mix moving forward. Makes sense. Nolan has long been involved with the Latvian national team and Irbe, who spent two years as a goalie coach in Washington, is the greatest player in that country's history.

It's a tough break for Corsi, but he's made a name for himself in this game outside of his dabbling in numbers. He'll land on his feet quickly.

It was also announced today that Joe Sacco, Teppo Numminen and Jerry Forton will not return to the Sabres. According to beat writer John Vogl, Sacco and Forton have been offered other jobs in the hockey department. Numminen, who played the final three seasons of his 20-year NHL career in Buffalo, will not have his contract renewed and is, as the saying goes, free to pursue other opportunities.

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