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Sacco on Avs firing: ‘A bit of a stinger’

Apr 29, 2013, 11:49 AM EST

DENVER, CO - MARCH 24: Head coach Joe Sacco of the Colorado Avalanche directs against the Vancouver Canucks at the Pepsi Center on March 24, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Vancouver beat Colorado 3-2. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

One day after he was relieved from his duties as Colorado head coach, Joe Sacco said the move wasn’t surprising — but it still hurt.

“Maybe it wasn’t totally unexpected, but when it happens, it’s still a bit of a stinger,” Sacco told The Denver Post. “But in this business, it’s the same thing as a player — you have to produce.

“We didn’t get the job done this year, and I have to accept my share of responsibility for that.”

Sacco, 44, finished his four-year stint in Colorado with a 130-134-30 record, with one playoff appearance and a Jack Adams nomination in 2010.

He sits fourth behind Bob Hartley, Marc Crawford and Joel Quenneville on the Avalanche’s all-time wins list, though it should be noted the team’s only ever had five head coaches (Tony Granato was the other).

Many of the circumstances leading to Sacco’s firing appeared to be out of his control.

Injuries plagued many of this teams (though, it should be noted, the 2013 Avs were largely healthy aside from Steve Downie‘s torn ACL), and the Ryan O’Reilly contract situation left Sacco without last year’s leading scorer for a significant chunk of the season.

The Avs also kept the purse strings tight — the NHL’s ninth-lowest payroll this season — and were routinely criticized by fans and media for a lack of leadership at the ownership level.

In the end, Sacco expressed gratitude for the opportunity to break into coaching with the Avs organization.

“I still am grateful for the chance I got to coach here,” he told the Post, “and will have many fond memories.”

  1. modellforprez - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Get some dry clothes on Sacco. we’ll get you on the next run!!

  2. tru2joelu4eva - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Honestly I feel kind of bad for him. This whole team is such a mess right now, I really don’t think it’s fair only to punish Joe. If the Avalanche organization is truly dedicated to improve and trying to move towards being a competitive NHL team again the firing of Sherman has to follow. He does deserve some credit in drafting, something the team has done relatively well since they’ve become perennial lottery pick candidates. However, the Shattenkirk/Stewart trade has turned out to be garbage for the Avs and giving up two picks for a mediocre, at best, goaltender that Washington was probably going to let go after signing Vokoun also set the team back considerably. And then there was that whole O’reilly thing… Ryan is soured on the team, they should’ve let him go and taken the picks. Not to mention overpaying players like David Jones and lowballing Duchene, spending well, well below the cap while claiming that eventually these talented young players would demand more money once their entry-level contracts are up. Well, everyone got contract extensions and pay raises regardless of whether or not they deserve them, and the team is still 14 million short of the cap ceiling, and just finished last in the west again. I’m just a fan, but I think that Sherman is just as much to blame for the past three or four seasons as Sacco is.

  3. uscthom78 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    The franchise has had more than 5 coaches. Their not an expansion team.

  4. jernster21 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    It’s not shocking that he got fired; what’s shocking is how his balls got coddled for 3 years of losing and he only now just got fired. I don’t think it’s by coincidence that Eric Lacriox “left” after Sacco got canned. I have a feeling Eric Lacriox was Sacco’s biggest fan. This may explain Eric Lacriox’s temper trantrum toward the refs after a game (I forget for what exactly) … basically saying “people could lose their jobs because of this”… yeah, well, the referee’s didn’t cause Sacco to lose his job…his mission to get a bunch of talented kids to become 3rd and 4th line grinders (because that was his role in the NHL) failed miserably. Sacco wanted the Avalanche to be exactly like the Pittsburgh Penguins except the Avalanche didn’t have the personnel. Sacco obviously never heard the axiom “Adapt or die.” otherwise he might still have a job. Joe Sacco’s system: “Get the puck behind their defense. Be hard to play against.” Serious rocket science.

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