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

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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.”