Joe Sacco is coming home to Boston, and he’s looking forward to being part of the Bruins’ future success as an assistant coach on Claude Julien’s staff.
“Well, it’s obviously an exciting time to be part of the Bruins organization right now and the success that they’ve had in the past number of years,” Sacco said during a conference call Thursday, a few hours after the team officially announced his hiring.
“And moving forward, especially with the group now, I feel pretty fortunate right now to step in and serve in the capacity that I’ll be doing so. So it’s an honor, and like I said, I feel fortunate to be part of such a strong group, a team that’s had success for a number of years, and hopefully we can continue that success moving forward.”
Sacco, a Medford, Mass., native, played for Boston University before beginning a 13-year NHL career. He spent several seasons as an assistant and a head coach in the AHL before making his NHL head-coaching debut with the Colorado Avalanche from 2009-10 through 2012-13. His previous job was an assistant on the Buffalo Sabres’ coaching staff last season.
In the end, it wasn’t a difficult decision to join the Bruins.
“The Bruins were probably the only team that I really had serious dialogue with,” Sacco said. “There was a couple of other opportunities, but they weren’t as intriguing as being with the Boston organization.”
Sacco is more of an offensive-minded coach, which stems from his days as a forward for BU and five different NHL teams. With the Bruins already having a few former defensemen on the staff, including Julien and Doug Houda, it made sense to hire an assistant who can work well with the forwards and contribute to the power-play schemes. Boston finished third in goals scored and power-play percentage last season, but the summer departure of veteran winger Jarome Iginla will make repeating that offensive success a bit of a challenge.
Even though Sacco has spent time in his last two jobs (Colorado and Buffalo) with teams that have a lot less experience than the Bruins, he already knows some of the veterans on the Boston roster and will be able to help the prospects who will compete for spots in training camp, including Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser.
“Boston still has some younger players thrown into the mix as well, and like Claude said earlier, there are going to be some guys competing for jobs from the Providence B’s,” Sacco said. “So I’m comfortable with experienced players, young players.”
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