The hashtag #FireSacco was busy on Twitter Sunday night. Hardcore Avalanche fans are angry over the team's latest losing streak and want someone to pay for it. The coach almost always is the guy who pays in the NHL, and if Twitter is any gauge, coach Joe Sacco would have been fired by now.
Yet, even after the Avs' sixth loss in seven games, to Vancouver at home, Sacco received verbal support in the dressing room.
"It has nothing to do with the coaches," said Avs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who began his NHL career in 1997, longer ago than any other player on the team. "The system is there. It's a good system. It's the same system as we played last year, when we had some success. When we decide to be all on the same page and play within the rules of our team, we're a successful team, especially with the talent that we have."
Players are supposed to say things like that though, right? When Giguere said those words Sunday, after the Avs' 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, two team media relations officials stood close by, their presence clearly seen by the player. But one other Avs player also gave Sacco some backup, away from any Big Brother presence.
"Of course not," said center Ryan O'Reilly, when asked if Sacco's message is being tuned out by players in this, his fourth year on the job. "We're well prepared. They're doing an excellent job. It's just what's going on on the ice. We have to look at ourselves first."
Still, none of the good words may be enough to save the job of Sacco, who has another year left on his contract beyond this season. After Sunday's loss to the Canucks, Sacco's record as Avs coach stood at 125-125-27.
In the past 40 days, two coaches with time left on their contracts beyond this season were fired by other teams: Lindy Ruff in Buffalo and Guy Boucher in Tampa Bay. In Boucher's case, he is less than two years removed from taking the Lightning to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in his first year as an NHL coach.