Fresh Blood 10/21/2009Posted by sportretort in mlb, NFL, nhl, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: coaching changes, colorado avalanche, colorado rockies, colorado sports scene, denver broncos, jim tracy, joe sacco, Josh mcdaniels, mlb, NFL, nhl
It was a tough spring for Denver sports fans. With in the span of a few short weeks, 3 of the 4 major sports franchises that call the Mile High City their home fired their head coaches. The local sports scene seemed to be a mess. Now, not so much.
The NFL Broncos fired long time head coach Mike Shanahan and hired New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to lead this storied franchise. All McDaniels, a
first time head coach and one of the youngest NFL head coaches ever, had to do was to replace the only Super Bowl winning coach in Bronco History. Though 10 years removed, Shanahan had led Denver to 2 titles in 1998 and ’99. Replacing a popular head coach is never easy, and the tumultuous off season that greeted McDaniels is well chronicled. All seems forgiven now, as the Broncos head into their bye week with a 6-0 record and a strangle hold on the AFC West title. Those 6 wins double the season win total predicted by many pundits. Fans that were calling for McDaniel’s head before he even coached a game seem to now embrace him. All is well in Bronco Nation.
The axe fell on baseball’s Clint Hurdle after a rough beginning to the ’09 campaign. The Rockies were 10 games
under the .500 mark and going no where fast. Hurdle had struggled as the Rockies manager but did lead Colorado to the World Series in 2007, Colorado’s only appearance in the Fall Classic so far. A scant 19 months later he was gone, replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Tracy. Tracy had previously been a MLB manager, most notably in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. The Rockies took off shortly after Tracy took over the reigns and were in the NL West race right up to the last series of the season. While the Rockies failed to win the West, the improved Rockies played better than 30 games over .500 for Tracy and won the Wild Card playoff spot. The team finished with a franchise record 92 wins and finished with more wins than losses on the road for the first time ever. They made their third post season appearance in their short history, bowing to Philadelphia 3 games to one in the NLDS. The Rockies are attempting to sign Tracy to a long term contract at this time. The future looks bright for Rockies fans.
Colorado Avalanche coach Tony Granato’s second stint as the Avs head coach was a short one, just one season. After leading the
Avs to their worst record since the move to Denver in 1995, Granato was let go just a week after finishing a 32-45-5 campaign. Joe Sacco was promoted from the Av’s Lake Erie AHL affiliate to take over the Avalanche. Many predict a dismal season for the Avs, projecting them to again miss the playoffs. With a new goaltender and 2, yes 2, 18-year-old centers playing, this young team may have a long season ahead. But the start has been simply brilliant. The Avalanche enter their game in Minnesota as the top team in the Western Conference. The 6-1-1 start is all the more impressive when you factor in the fact that all but 2 of the games have been played on the road. It is too early to tell what will happen with this young team, but the fans are back and there is an excited buzz among Colorado hockey faithful.
What a difference a few months can make. Three head coaching changes and all 3 seemed to have worked out. Throw in the fact that the NBA Nuggets made the Western Conference finals last season and it seems that winning teams abound in Denver.