New Avs coach Joe Sacco's starpower deficit

The Colorado Avalanche didn't wait long after the sacking of beleaguered good-guy coach Tony Granato to name his replacement. Yesterday, the team introduced new head man Joe Sacco, who most recently helmed the Lake Erie Monsters, the excellently named Avs' affiliate in the American Hockey League. From all reports, Sacco is a solid head man, and the promoting-from-within method has worked for the Avs in the past: Bob Hartley, who helmed the team during its second Stanley Cup-winning season, came to the fore after a stint with the minor-league Hershey Bears. But Sacco's arrival can't help but seem like a letdown to casual fans following the Avs' unsuccessful quest at hiring spectacular goalie/presumed savior Patrick Roy. The Avs needed someone with name recognition to excite casual fans -- the ones who were onboard the outfit's bandwagon when times were good, but quickly jumped off again when the wins became fewer and farther between. The only way Sacco can lure them back will be by turning the franchise around, and that won't be easy given the number of holes in the lineup and the relatively modest amount of cash the Avs can spend under the NHL's current salary cap restrictions. In other words, he'll have to be just as super as that other Joe we've been fortunate enough to have around here for so many years.

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