It wasn’t that long ago that Joe Sacco was being showered with praise. When he took over the Colorado Avalanche, they were one of the worst teams in the league and in his first season as their bench boss, he led them to the playoffs.
It represented a 26-point improvement over their previous season’s performance and it was enough to make the rookie coach a finalist for the Jack Adams Award.
Fast forward two years and the big question is if Sacco should get fired after his club failed to make the playoffs in back-to-back campaigns. They recently gave him a show of support by signing him to a two-year extension, but should they miss the playoffs for a third straight season...
Of course, when it comes to Colorado, you have to wonder how fair it is to blame the coach. He inherited a rebuilding and has had to deal with all the rough patches that involves.
As the Denver Post recently pointed out, the Colorado Avalanche have also made a habit of operating near the salary floor in recent years -- something that isn’t likely to change in the near future.
Should Sacco really be blamed if he struggles to win consistently against the franchises that are in a different stage of their development and pouring more money into their club?
Maybe not, but the thing about losing is that it will typically spark a change, regardless of whether or not it’s necessarily fair in the strictest sense.
Although he wasn’t actually fired, Tom Renney is no longer a head coach after the Edmonton Oilers decided to part ways with him. Under Renney, a number of the Edmonton Oilers’ promising young players have blossomed. They’ve had a terrible record over the last three seasons, but was Renney given the tools to succeed?
At the end of the day, the Colorado Avalanche need to start getting results. Expectations are rising and they need to prove to their fans that they are moving past the rebuilding stage, even if their team is relatively young.
If the Avalanche don’t deliver next season, then perhaps Joe Sacco will be fired in an effort to finally get them back into the playoffs for the first time since, well, Sacco was the next big thing.