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)

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


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.”

Ortio clears waivers, assigned to Flames’ AHL team

Joni Ortio
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Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.

The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),

But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.

In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.

Jarred Tinordi becomes the latest youngster to be sent to the AHL for ‘conditioning’

Jarred Tinordi, Brendan Gallagher
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Like Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here), and Patrik Nemeth (see here) before him, Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi is off to the AHL for a conditioning stint.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season; however, because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, the former first-round pick has remained on Montreal’s roster.

It’s an issue that’s received a good deal of attention lately. Some believe the league should do something about it, lest more young players get “stuck” in the NHL.

Tinordi will only be allowed to spend two weeks in St. John’s, as per the rules of his conditioning loan.

Safe to say, if you’re an NHL general manager who thinks Tinordi still has potential, Marc Bergevin would welcome your best offer.