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September 2020
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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Sacco.’

Colorado Avalanche fire Sacco as coach after four seasons

Joe Sacco (courtesy Colorado Avalanche)

Black Monday usually happens the day after the final NHL regular-season games.

It’s the day when owners and general managers fire their coaches after a disappointing season.

Joe Sacco was fired on Sunday after the Colorado Avalanche lost to the Minnesota Wild 3-1 in their final game.

The Avs missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

Colorado, usually a playoff contender, never was able to get going in the 48-game season and finished last in the Western Conference at 16-25-7 for 39 points.

Sacco, in four seasons, had a record of 130-134-30. He leaves with one year on his contract.

A former NHL Right winger, Sacco played from 1990-2003 with Toronto, Anaheim, New York Islanders, Washington and Philadelphia.

Blue Jackets take a step back in 5-1 loss to Colorado


Stuart Mason also contributed to this story

There is no question that the Columbus Blue Jackets are a much improved team this year under new head coach Scott Arniel.

However, they’ll look like Stanley Cup contender one night (beating St. Louis 8-1) and look like an also-ran the next.

The latter statement was true in their recent game against Colorado on Friday night. They rarely beat the Avs anyway, having lost six in a row against them, but after the first period, the Jackets were chasing the puck, the power play looked pitiful and to add insult to injury, they started the game with out their star and captain, Rick Nash.

(file photo)

The Jackets all-time record against Colorado is 8-28-2, 5-13-1 in Columbus.

Columbus took the early lead in the first period against the fleet-footed Avalanche. Antoine Vermette made it 1-0 when he tapped in a pass from Nikita Filatov.

But that lead didn’ last long as the Avs right winger David Jones scored his first goal of the game two minutes later.

The game started to unravel on the Jackets in the second period and they were undone by two former Blue Jackets farmhands, Philippe DuPuis and Greg Mauldin.

Mauldin scored at the 10:57 mark off a turnover and started a 2-1 rush against goalie Steve Mason to put Colorado up 2-1. DuPuis made it 3-1 on a controversial goal when replays showed that DuPuis was over the goalie crease area and pushed Steve Mason into the back of the net. When Mason got up, the puck was lodged under him and went across the line. But it looked like the play was whistled dead. The referees went to the replays in Toronto and as usual when that happens, the odds are always against the Jackets and it was a goal.

The Jackets had some good chances against Avs goalie Peter Budaj, but once again, he shut them down.

Paul Stastny made it 4-1, 9 seconds before the second period intermission when Mason got himself out of position and the net was wide open for the goal.

Jones finished the scoring in the third period with his second goal to make it 5-1 at the 17:55 mark.

The Blue Jackets had a nice crowd on a Friday night of 13,594. That’s is pretty good considering there was the high school football playoffs and the Ohio State men’s basketball team was playing at home also.

If the Blue Jackets want the crowds to get back up to the customary level of 16,000-18,000, they’ll have to give a better effort than the one displayed against Colorado. Both games against the Avs this season have been blowouts.

Friday’s game was “CBJ ALUMNI NIGHT” as the team honored the team’s first captain, Lyle Odelein. Old number 4 said he was glad for the time he spent in Columbus and he will ever be remembered as a good captain and he is still well-liked by the fans.

SOUND FROM THE BLUE JACKETS POSTGAME DRESSING ROOM (To listen to an audio file, click on the link)

45 926 Kyle Wilson Columbus center Thoughts on lopsided loss (WPKO WBLL)

45 927 Kyle Wilson Columbus center Avs make you pay for mistakes (WPKO WBLL)

SOUNDS FROM THE AVALANCHE POSTGAME DRESSING ROOM (To listen to an audio file, click on the link)

45 913 Peter Budaj Avs goalie Is he pleased with his own play (WPKO WBLL)

45 915 Joe Sacco Avs coach On David Jones’ play (WPKO WBLL)

45 916 Joe Sacco Avs coach On Greg Mauldin scoring in 1st game (WPKO WBLL)

45 917 Joe Sacco Avs coach His team was ready in the 1st period (WPKO WBLL)

45 918 Joe Sacco Avs coach On Greg Mauldin paying his dues in minors (WPKO WBLL)


* The Avs are 12th on the power play in the NHL.

* The Avs are 5-2-1 on the road.

* Colorado is 29th on the penalty kill in the NHL.

* The Avs came into the game 3rd in the Northwest Division, 11th in the Western Conference with 15 points and a record of 7-6-1.

* Colorado is averaging 3.29 goals-per-game, tops in the Western Conference and third highest in the NHL. The Avalanche have scored three or more goals on 10 occasions, posting an 8-1-1 record in those games. The Avs are 0-5-0 when scoring two goals or less. As of this game, the Avalanche was tied for first in the league in 5-on-5 goals with 33 and also had the most goals in the third period with 19.

* Colorado has the second-youngest active roster in the NHL, with an average age of 26.0 years old. Los Angeles has the youngest at 25.9.

* Avs head coach Joe Sacco earned his 50th career coaching victory on November 6 against Dallas in his 95th game behind the bench. He is the third-fastest coach in franchise history to reach 50 wins, trailing only Marc Crawford (83 games) and Tony Granato (87 games). Sacco owns a 51-36-10 mark (.583%) as an NHL head coach.

* With a pair of assists on October 30, Milan Hejduk passed Joe Sakic for the most career points at the Pepsi Center, home of the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Hejduk now has 349 points (171 goals/178 assists) in 381 regular season games, while Sakic had 344 points (119 goals/225 assists) in 297 games at the Pepsi Center. Hejduk’s 171 goals are already an arena record.

* Chris Stewart, right winger for the Avalanche, was named the NHL’s Third Star for the month of October. The Toronto native finished second among all skaters with 16 points (9 goals/7 assists) in 11 games during the month. He tied for second in the NHL with nine goals in October and shared the league lead in both game-winning goals (3) and power-play goals (4). Stewart ended the month with an eight-game point streak (8 goals/6 assists), tying his career long set March 6-22, 2010. He had six multi-point games in October, including his second career hat trick on October 28 at Calgary. Stewart’s nine goals last month equaled the most by an Avalanche player in October. Joe Sakic had nine goals in October of 1997 and Peter Forsberg had nine in October of 2000, although both played more games than Stewart (Sakic with 14 and Forsberg with 12).

* Columbus scored the first goal of the game for the eighth time this season and they are 7-1-0 in those games.

* The Blue Jackets were 5-1-0 in their past six games at Nationwide Arena prior to the Colorado game.

* Despite the loss, Columbus has won eight of its past 12 games.

* The Blue Jackets are 28th on the power play in the NHL.

* The CBJ are 5-5-0 at home.

* Columbus came into the game 3rd in the Central Division, 6th in the Western Conference at 9-5-0 with 18 points.

* The Jackets are 17th on the penalty kill in the NHL.

Blue Jackets hire Scott Arniel as head coach; Boucher says no

On Sunday at the Memorial Tournament, several members of the Columbus media were sitting around eating and the topic of Blue Jackets hockey came up because Guy Boucher’s name surfaced as the number 1 choice. Most of us we shocked in a way that why would a candidate who is a minor league hockey coach like Boucher want to wait to decide whether to accept or not. The general concensus was he was going to say no. That was my personal thoughts because no one would pass up a chance to coach in the NHL when opportunities are few and far between.

Scott Arniel (Manitoba Moose photo)

So when I woke up this morning and saw my email that Scott Arniel was taking the job, I was not surprised. I liked him from the start as well as Kevin Dineen. I also liked Claude Noel, but all of us in the media felt he had no chance or they would’ve given him the job at the end of the season instead of making him wait 2 months to make a decision. Now he is gone because he said all along, he would not come back as an assistant after being the interim coach. You can’t blame him.

Good Luck to Claude Noel!  He’s a good man and solid coach and I personally thank him for all the interviews and time he gave to me and the rest of the media that follow the team on a regular basis.

Now to Scott Arniel, the former coach of the Manitoba Moose.

It has been reported that Scott Arniel was the Blue Jackets second choice as head coach. It doesn’t matter because sometimes number 2 just might be a better choice or a better coach. This past season, Joe Sacco was the number 2 choice of the Colorado Avalanche and he took one of the worst NHL teams and turned them into a Stanley Cup contender as they lost in the second round to Detroit just a few weeks ago.

The Blue Jackets are hoping that the 47-year-old Arniel can do the same. He accepted the job on Monday just hours after Guy Boucher rejected the team’s offer.

If everybody remembers, Scott Howsom was a second choice himself, taking the Jackets position after current Anaheim general manager Bob Murray turned down Columbus’ offer in the summer of 2007.

Former Blue Jackets TV broadcaster Danny Gare is very familiar with Scott Arniel from their playing days in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres. Arniel, who played forward, also served as a Sabres assistant coach from 2002-2006.

Gare says that Arniel will gain instant respect in the Blue Jackets locker room because he did play 730 games in the National Hockey League with Winnipeg, Buffalo and Boston.

Arniel will be introduced to the media at a press conference Tuesday June 8 at 3 pm.