I'm just 'Coach Joe' to them," Sakic said. "And that's it. I say, 'Hi guys,' they say, 'Hi, Coach Joe,' and we go about what we do in games and practice."
The night before, the Hawks practiced at South Suburban Arena in Littleton, and Sakic looked comfortable running the show. "All right guys, here's what we're gonna do," he said at one point, diagramming. " 'D' to 'D' off the wall, forwards come back, break out . . . "
"I thought they'd be better this year, for sure," Sakic said. "I didn't expect a 10-1-2 start, but they deserved everything they got. They're an exciting team and I think the big thing is the life the young kids bring to the table. Obviously, the goaltending has been great with (Craig) Anderson, and Peter (Budaj) has come back and played the way he's capable of too.