Back on Nov. 21, Colorado Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco put his charges through a bag skate. (For a rich, detailed history of the bag skate, read Justin Bourne’s USA Today piece.)
The skate was likely in response to Colorado’s 4-1 home loss to the Sharks…or the fact the Avs had lost seven of their last nine…or the fact they’re 5-9-0 at the Pepsi Center this year.
Whatever the case, Sacco bag skated ’em. Hard.
“Sacco yelled at the boys a couple of times pretty loudly too,” Dater wrote. “I don’t believe in reporting what was said in a situation like that, even though I heard a few of his sentences. It feels too much like eavesdropping and reporting private stuff. Let’s just say it was fairly loud and ‘constructively critical.'”
Constructive criticism wasn’t all that came from the bag skate. Turns out defenseman Erik Johnson and forward Peter Mueller both hurt their groins during the workout (again, from Dater) — for Johnson, the injury was severe enough to land him on IR. Johnson’s missed Colorado’s last four games and won’t play tonight when the Avs take on his former team, the St. Louis Blues. Mueller had yet to be cleared from his concussion, so the groin strain was a setback in his recovery.
Avalanche fans seem to be of two minds on this. Some are angry at Sacco for what amounts to injuring his own players. Others put this at the feet (or, groins) of Johnson and Mueller, pointing out the bag skate only lasted eight minutes while arguing professional hockey players should have the fitness to withstand the rigors of an eight-minute powerskating session.
Whatever the case, it remains the latest in an exasperating season for the Avs. Dater has twice taken the team to task (see here and here) for its lackluster play and questionable decision making — now he can add another gripe to his list.