Former Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco isn’t going to be out of work very long.
According to John Vogl of The Buffalo News, Sacco is set to join Sabres head coach Ron Rolston on his staff as an assistant. Rolston has been looking for experienced help on his bench since former assistants Kevyn Adams and James Patrick were let go.
Both Rolston and Sacco have history together as they were assistants under Scott Gordon for Team USA during the 2010 World Championships. Sacco coached Team USA to the bronze medal at this year’s Championships.
Sacco was fired as head coach of the Avalanche following yet another disappointing season this year. He’ll join Teppo Numminen on Rolston’s coaching staff. Numminen was the only holdover from Lindy Ruff’s tenure in Buffalo.
Update (3:08 p.m. ET): Sabres make it official Sacco is on board. Press conference to come at 4:30 ET today.
Team USA coach Joe Sacco is going with the guy he knows best to be the team’s leader at the IIHF World Championships.
USA Hockey announced Avalanche center Paul Stastny as the captain of this year’s squad. A pair of Lightning players will wear the “A” as forward Nate Thompson and defenseman Matt Carle were named alternates.
The Americans are trying to improve on last year’s seventh place finish at Worlds. Going without most of the high-level talent hurts most teams thanks to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but this is the final international tune-up before the Olympics in Sochi in February.
Team USA will kick off play at Worlds tomorrow against Thomas Vanek and Austria in Helsinki, Finland.
Related: Eric Staal captains Canada’s World Championships team
Joe Sacco’s firing in Colorado was apparently the first step to be taken towards improving the Avalanche organization.
Adrian Dater of The Denver Post reports the team’s vice president of hockey operations, Eric Lacroix, has left the team following Sacco’s firing. Team president Pierre Lacroix, Eric’s father, and GM Greg Sherman are still employed.
After seeing the team fall to second-to-last in the NHL for the second time in three years, changes were due to occur. Sacco being fired is the least surprising move to be made, but it’s clear now there may be more moves on the way. Those working in the Avs front office might not want to answer the phone for a few days.
Rumors over who might land Sacco’s job range from Lindy Ruff to Guy Boucher to Patrick Roy. That’s quite the smorgasbord of names to choose from.
Joe Sacco’s run as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche is over.
The team announced they’ve relieved Sacco of his head coaching duties after four years on the job and after yet another disappointing season, the writing was on the wall.
In his tenure as the Avs bench boss, Sacco took the team to the postseason just once during his first season on the job in 2009-10 as the team piled up 95 points in the standings and lost to San Jose in six games in the first round.
Since then it’s been nothing but mediocrity as they’ve missed the playoffs in three straight seasons. The Avs have put up the second-worst record in the league in two of those years.
Sacco’s record in Colorado tops out at 130-134-14 and now he’ll head to Finland and Sweden to coach Team USA in the World Championships. The Avalanche have not announced a replacement as of yet and Sacco may not be the only one out the door as GM Greg Sherman could soon follow.
Colorado Avalanche fans won’t have to wait long to see newly re-signed forward Ryan O’Reilly in action.
After practicing with the team yesterday, coach Joe Sacco says O’Reilly will play this afternoon against Columbus and will play on the third line with John Mitchell and Milan Hejduk. Adrian Dater of The Denver Post gets the coach’s explanation as to why.
“I like the way the other two lines played the other night; they really had some good production. So we’ll put him with Mitchell, who’s got some offensive potential; and we all know Milan’s history. So, it should be a good fit,” Sacco said.
Just for the record, that makes O’Reilly a third line center making $5 million a year against the cap. Obviously he wasn’t going to be thrown right into top-six forward work with how well Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny have played so far this season, but making the team stronger up the middle is a good thing.
As of now, the Avalanche sit four points back of eighth place Nashville in the West. Now would be a good time to earn the new paycheck.