Sabre rattling: Buffalo overhauls Nolan’s coaching staff


Ted Nolan was retained to guide the Sabres through their ongoing rebuild, but the same can’t be said for the rest of his coaching staff.

From Sabres PR:

The Buffalo Sabres today announced several changes to the team’s coaching staff, effective immediately: Assistant coaches Joe Sacco and Jerry Forton have been offered reassignment within the organization’s hockey department; the contract of assistant coach Teppo Numminen will not be renewed; goaltending coach Jim Corsi will not return as part of the team’s staff next season.

Forton’s removal isn’t a huge surprise — he was part of the Ron Rolston regime, hired out of the collegiate ranks last August. Forton was an assistant coach at Harvard, the same place Rolston coached from 1999-2002.

Like Forton, Sacco was a relatively new hire and has ties to Rolston, as both served as assistants under Scott Gordon for Team USA’s entry at the 2010 World Hockey Championships. Sacco joined the Sabres last July, shortly after being fired as the head coach in Colorado.

Numinen’s departure marks the end of a tenure in which he displayed remarkable survival skills. He was the lone coaching holdover from the Lindy Ruff regime — Numminen was hired as an assistant for the 2012-13 campaign — and worked under both Rolston and Nolan last season.

Corsi, the team’s goalie coach, is the longest-tenured of all the aforementioned staff members, having served as goalie coach since 2001. He’s perhaps best known as the guy responsible for creating the Corsi Rating, and advanced possession statistic that measures shot attempts.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.