If the Avalanche players have stopped caring, why should we? But here is the tougher question: If the minds of the last-place Avs are already somewhere else as a horrible NHL season winds down, what is coach Joe Sacco still doing here? Sacco is earnest and hardworking, a hockey grinder at heart. But he obviously has lost this team. With Colorado emotionally beaten by a league-worst record of 12-22-5 and little to play for in what remains of the regular season, I asked Sacco on Tuesday: Hey, Joe, are you focused on getting to the golf course or the blackjack tables in Las Vegas as soon as the season is over? "Do I look like I'm worried about that?" replied Sacco, with a laugh. "I have a lot of other things to be worried about right now." Yes, for starters, Sacco needs to worry about saving his job. It should already be too late. With the Avs doomed to miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season in his four-year stint as coach, Sacco's dismissal should be expected. Of course, not everything wrong with the Avalanche is the fault of Sacco. A hose should be turned on to clean out the front office. But when a team loses interest, it is an ugly condemnation of both the players and the coach hired to motivate them. After a humiliating 3-1 loss at home to poor, pitiful Calgary on Monday night, veteran and highly decorated goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere angrily blasted the professionalism of his teammates. "Some guys are more worried about their Vegas trip at the end of the season than playing the games, than playing every minute of the games. Quite frankly, I don't care about your Vegas trip right now," Giguere said. "It's embarrassing. I'm embarrassed to be here right now. It's not even funny." Given 12 hours to mount a defense, not a single Colorado teammate disputed Giguere's claim. And that led to another difficult question I did not enjoy posing to Sacco: If this team's professionalism has taken a leave of absence, isn't that a poor reflection on the head coach and his staff? "I think everybody has to take some responsibility, there's no question," Sacco said.
Avalanche must clean house, starting with firing Joe Sacco
Denver Post | Apr 10