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Bruins name Sacco assistant coach

Jul 24, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT

Joe Sacco AP

The Boston Bruins added major experience to Claude Julien’s staff on Thursday, hiring former NHLer and Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco as an assistant.

Sacco will replace outgoing assistant Geoff Ward who, last week, left the B’s to take the head coaching gig with German League team Adler Mannheim.

Sacco, 45, comes to the Bruins after spending last year as an assistant in Buffalo. Prior to his time with the Sabres he spent four years in charge of the Avalanche, including the 2009-10 campaign in which he led a surprising Avs team to the playoffs and was named a Jack Adams finalist for coach of the year.

The move to Boston will represent a homecoming for Sacco. The Massachusetts native played at Boston University before getting drafted into the NHL, and spent a couple seasons as an assistant coach in Lowell prior to Colorado moving its AHL affiliate to Lake Erie.

  1. dboldave - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    I was hoping for Oates but I think this is a nice addition to the staff.

    • avfanforlife - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      He’s ALL yours !!!! TERRIBLE coach for the AV’s. (but thank you for Iginla)

      • buddysguys - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        yeah he really helped the guys in Buffalo too.

  2. nhstateline - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Nobody could have saved that Sabres team. And he’s an assistant here not the head coach. Speaking of whom, the Habs and the Devils both gave up on him. Coaches get fired, its just part of the deal and often not a reflection on their knowledge or skill. Sometimes they get done in by circumstances.

    • govtminion - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      In most cases I definitely agree, but judging from the turnaround last season either Patrick Roy is a coaching god amongst men, or the Avs very much underperformed under Sacco.

      • nhstateline - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM

        I’d go with the former and add in the advantage Patrick Roy had from being in the Q for so long. He knew which players would fit with the AVs from that league who could play in the NHL that they could get for little or nothing. My favorite add for them was Marc Andre Cliche. Good player, buried in the Kings system, could play in the NHL if he got a shot and it cost the AVs nothing to add him. There were other examples but I thought he was the best one of Roy’s specific knowledge of the QMJHL improving the roster last season.

      • avscup - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        Little bit of both. Roy brought a fresh new approach and attitude. He is a very good coach also (see Jack Adams award). His approach got the talent that was there to perform. His systems were a welcome change and suited the players they had. Sacco lost the team a long time before he was fired.

        I look for the Defense to improve even though they didn’t really add. Stuart will be a nice addition but Johnson, Hejda, Barrie, Holden, are solid D that should be able to improve on last year. We’ll see about Wilson, Guennon, etc.

  3. sjsblitz - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Julien is gonna make this guy look like gold, someone with a brain dead GM will hire him as a head coach(McT, Snow), then he’ll fail again like he did with the Avs. So bad this guy is

  4. pats2001 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    come on Halford…Sacco played his college hockey at BU, not BC. i’m sure most people that aren’t from greater boston couldnt possibly give a F, but around here it’s a big deal and a big difference. get it right

    • titansbro - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      them’s fighting words

      • pats2001 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        thanks bro

      • Mike Halford - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:34 PM

        sorry, got university mixed up with college. fixed.

  5. LampyB - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Sacco tanked the Avs, was fired because he sucks. Bad move for the B’s

  6. bricevjohnson - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    If you haven’t noticed, everywhere this guys goes, teams have bottomed out. Colorado survived solely off Craig Anderson for one season before the joke that was Sacco’s dressing room fell apart, and his ‘contributions’ in Buffalo helped them sink immediately. Lake Erie didn’t fair much better. He has no system, he’s easily confused and will just sit on the bench staring vacantly with his mouth half open 95% of the game (exactly what he is doing in this tread photo).

    • bricevjohnson - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:47 PM


    • avscup - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      LOL about the mouth. He always looked like a deer in the headlights to me. I am glad Joe Sakic is running the show. In all fairness, it wasn’t just Sacco’s fault.

      • norskhelgen - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        Maybe not, but his face bugged me the most lol, especially during the 10-11 and 12-13 slides.

      • avscup - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        yeah, those were awful. I gave up my season tix after 15 years!

  7. cantescapekarma - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    I guess he must not have had much interest in being a scout. Buffalo offered him a job as NHL level scout, which he did accept and I thought had already begun working at. According to TM he was “excited” to get started (at the new job). I wonder if it was a money thing or if he just really wanted to continue coaching. I wonder why he even accepted the scouting job, maybe just a fear of being jobless…?

    He was not an assistant in Buffalo for long so it’s hard for me to make any type of judgement on/against him. One thing I can say is that I really liked the way he ran the penalty kill. Boston fans I think will be pleasantly surprised with Sacco’s PK system. He had Buffalo’s PK looking better than it had in quite a long time and his system really seemed to work well.

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