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Avalanche Thoughts – Just Keep Sacco

Why the Colorado Avalanche should keep Joe Sacco for the rest of this season.

I’ve wanted Joe Sacco fired since the moment I read that he was hired. He didn’t have a great track record in the AHL, so why did I think that he would succeed in the NHL? So far, he hasn’t.

And yet for three plus years he’s been the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, leading them to one post-season and multiple disappointments. He should’ve been let go after last season when the team stumbled down the stretch and missed the playoffs. His contract was up and it seemed like the perfect time to cut ties with him. Instead he was brought back this year and Avalanche fans have had to suffer through the worst season of the Sacco era, which really says a lot.

It seemed like the team may have figured things out when they ended the Chicago Blackhawks point streak in dominant fashion. They followed that up with a gutty last second win against the San Jose Sharks. All seemed to be going in the right direction. Then, in typical Sacco Avs fashion, the wheels fell off with a 4-0 loss against the Edmonton Oilers. Things haven’t gotten any better since then, with the team only winning one game since beating the Sharks, an inspired comeback against the Dallas Stars, that was essentially erased a couple of nights later when the Stars waxed the Avs with ease. During this 1-8 streak, the story has been the same every single game: give up the first goal and quit or give up the first goal, fight back, still come up short. This team has given up the first goal in 24 of 33 games this year. It’s pretty tough to win when you’re playing from behind almost every single game.

Joe Sacco has coached 279 games. His record is 125-127-27. The Avs have scored first in 114 of those games. So in 60% of those games, the Avs have had to come back from at least one goal down. Of all the numbers I could throw at you though, let me throw this record at you: 29-51-16. That’s Sacco’s record against the Northwest division. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that it’s pretty tough to make the playoffs when you struggle so much against divisional opponents. You basically have to be perfect against non-divisional opponents, which the Avs obviously aren’t.

I could go on and on about how Sacco has no clue what he’s doing, how the team has given up on him, how the problems even run deeper than Sacco, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll say this: I want Joe Sacco to remain the head coach for the rest of the year. Why? Seth Jones.

Even if Sacco is fired, this team isn’t going to make the playoffs. There’s just too much ground to make up and not enough time. But a new coach will hopefully inspire this team to play better. It’s obvious that everyone has given up on Sacco. The players aren’t responding, one assistant coach already has another job lined up, and Sacco looks and sounds like he’s given up on the players as well. So what? Let the team continue to play embarrassing hockey. Let them continue to lose and end up as the worst team in the league. I’m fine with that right now. Because I want the #1 overall pick. I want Seth Jones, a game changing defenseman who has been compared to Chris Pronger. If the Avs win, the chances of them landing Jones decrease. So it’s either fire Sacco, possibly win some games, and lose out of Jones. Or keep Sacco, continue to lose, hopefully get Jones, and still fire Sacco at the end of this season.

Of course if the Avs don’t end up with the #1 overall pick then it seems all for naught, but we have to at least try. As long as Sacco isn’t brought back next year, and God help all Avalanche fans if he is, then it’s at least worth trying.

I’m not advocating this team to tank the rest of this year. I don’t have to advocate that, just watch how they’ve played in recent weeks, they’re already tanking. Maybe they’re not openly doing it or even trying to do it, but they are. They’re making poor decision after poor decision. Management, coaching, players, everyone. It’s not even frustrating to watch this team anymore. It’s funny. Because you know if something good happens, they’ll immediately blow it by doing something stupid and allowing the other team to steal the momentum back. Or if the team has a chance to gain the momentum, you know they’ll squander it. They don’t need to tank to have the best chance at Seth Jones. They just need to keep doing what they’re doing.

Joe Sacco should remain the Colorado Avalanche head coach for the rest of this year. As long as he’s fired after this year of course.

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