Colorado Avalanche: Joe Sacco's Seat Can't Be Much Hotter

Kevin Goff@@BrgBrigadeKevinContributor IAugust 3, 2011

DENVER - DECEMBER 23:  Head coach Joe Sacco of the Colorado Avalanche looks on as he leads his team against the Minnesota Wild at the Pepsi Center on December 23, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Wild defeated the Avalanche 3-1.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The relationship between the Colorado Avalanche and head coach Joe Sacco has been just like any other relationship.

We've had our ups and downs, and it's really hard to figure out exactly where we stand.

We were all cautious at the start, willing to give him a shot because he seemed to have pretty decent success with the farm club in Lake Erie, and he seemed like a nice guy.

The first date went great! So unexpectedly great that we all could feel ourselves falling in love with him. When Sacco led our boys into the playoffs just a year removed from being in the basement of the Western Conference, we all had the feeling that this was going to be something special.

The second date came around and things got off to just as good a start as the first day. It was like we picked up right where we had left off.

Then something strange happened. There was a hiccup, a lull in the conversation for the first time and neither of us knew what to do.

Things picked up again, a few moves were made and some pieces changed places and then we were feeling good again.

Not too long after that, some serious missteps began happening. Suddenly, everything that was said was the wrong thing, every move that was made was absolutely the wrong move, every message that was sent was confusing.

Things were really awkward, and there was definitely no goodnight kiss after date No. 2.

Well, we're just about a month away from the start of the third date, and after the way the second date ended, a lot of us in Colorado are feeling a little apprehensive about the relationship that started off so well.

Now is the time to figure things out, though. This is when we have to look hard at the relationship and see if what we want matches up with what we're being given, and if it isn't enough to make us happy then it's best to just break things off.

The hardest question that needs to be answered this season is whether or not Sacco's first year was a result of good coaching or was dumb luck that ran dry after testing the fates just one too many times.

The other question to answer is, exactly how big of a role did the injuries play in Colorado's incredibly disappointing season?

The answer to that last question could ultimately determine Sacco's fate with the team. If the injuries were just so bad that there was no way that anybody could have expected the team to win, then it's reasonable to think that, with a healthy team, the Avalanche should come out strong and make a playoff push again.

Yet, there are things that make us wonder whether or not the injuries were the true issue at hand.

The thing that killed me during the horrid run that was the second half of the Colorado Avalanche's season was that after every single game Sacco came out with the same comments.

"We didn't start the game on time."  "We kept making mental mistakes."  "We couldn't make the necessary adjustments."

Maybe it's just me, but isn't each and every single one of those things something that the coaching staff should address within a couple of games, let alone the entire second half of the season?

Then there was his message-sending. Rather than let the players play their way out of a slump and continue to try and boost their confidence, Sacco did things like make a player a healthy scratch or bench them for a whole period.

These were things that Sacco was praised for during the first year of his reign because the players responded when challenged.

The problem is that when this is your only way to send a message, you can kill the confidence of a young team, and I think that is absolutely what we saw with the Avalanche in the second half of the season.

As I wrote in a previous article, it seemed that Sacco got far more involved with message-sending than actual coaching, and that cannot continue to happen.

So here we are, two months out from the regular season and each party involved very eager to see how things will develop in this relationship.

One thing definitely is for sure: if Sacco falters at all in this third time out, he'll be having to find a cab in order to get home.


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