April 30, 2013

Sacco canned by Colorado; Laviolette returning for Flyers

By Jesse Connolly

The Avalanche only made the playoffs once during Joe Sacco's four years behind the bench. (Getty Images)

After four years on the job, Joe Sacco reiterated his desire to remain on as head coach in Colorado. Less than one day later, Avs management squashed his hopes.

Sacco was relieved of his duties on Sunday after the Avalanche failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third straight season. Colorado finished with the second-worst record in the NHL, going 16-25-7 and finishing last in the Western Conference.

"The organization believes a change of leadership behind the bench is needed going forward," general manager Greg Sherman said in a release. "Joe has worked for this franchise for eight seasons and he is a dedicated and hard-working coach. We appreciate all he has done and wish him the best in the future."

The Avs won the NHL Draft Lottery on Monday, netting them the No. 1 pick in 2013, which they’re all but guaranteed to use defenseman Seth Jones, who spent part of his formative years in the Denver area while his father, Popeye Jones, played for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.

Sacco, a Medford, Mass., native who played 738 games in the National Hockey League after a three-year stint at BU, finishes his tenure in Colorado with a 130-134-30 record.

Laviolette to return as Flyers coach

After a trying season that saw the Flyers miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007, there won’t be any shakeups behind Philadelphia’s bench, meaning Peter Laviolette (Franklin, Mass.) will remain the team’s head coach.

Philly finished the season in 10th place in the East with 49 points in the lockout-shortened, 48-game season – six points back of the eighth-seeded Islanders. The Flyers finished the year strong with four straight victories, pushing them above .500 (23-22-3, 49 points) on the year.

“Our team played hard until the end,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. “Peter is a strong motivator and a strong tactician. I expect him to lead our team back into the playoffs next year.”

In 269 games in Philadelphia, Laviolette – who was once the bench boss for the Providence Bruins and in line to become the next head coach in Boston – owns a record of 145-95-29. He guided the Flyers to the Cup finals in 2010 during his first season at the helm.

Laviolette, who led the P-Bruins to a Calder Cup in 1999 and the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup in 2006, is 389-279-25-63 in his NHL coaching career.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com