Avalanche legend Sakic back in swing of busy schedule | VailDaily.com

Avalanche legend Sakic back in swing of busy schedule

Adrian Dater
The Denver Post

Joe Sakic’s back is feeling better and he’s working out hard ” maybe even soon incorporating a little Pilates into his routine. He also is spending some quality time with his boys, including a weekend hockey tournament for oldest son, Mitchell, in Fargo, N.D.

That both those areas of his life are active is keeping people guessing whether he’ll play a 21st season with the Avalanche in 2009-10. Whatever he decides ” and Sakic said he still isn’t sure ” it will come much sooner than last summer.

“I’ll continue the rehab I’m on and make a decision soon after that,” Sakic said.

That means it could be sometime in May or June when the Avalanche captain makes the decision public. Last year, the decision was made close to September. Those hoping Sakic’s health will be close to 100 percent before making such a big decision seemingly will get their wish. Sakic said his back is feeling good and most of the leg strength lost following surgery has returned.

“That was the biggest thing why I couldn’t play late in the season, the loss of strength in the (left) leg,” said Sakic, who turns 40 on July 7. “But it’s come along well, almost back to where it was.”

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The Avs’ first move after the season ended April 12 was to fire general manager Francois Giguere. Sakic called the departure “unfortunate.”

“Francois is a great guy, and it’s too bad it happened,” he said. “When you have a season like we had, you know there are going to be some changes. You feel bad, because if the team played better, he’d still be here.”

The Avs have yet to name Giguere’s successor. Pierre Lacroix, the Avs’ president and the man in charge of the search, will not comment to the media. In-house candidates Craig Billington and Michel Goulet are being considered. Former Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster called Lacroix last week to express his interest in the job, but he has yet to receive a formal interview.

Despite the worst season in team history, Tony Granato remains the coach.

“Injuries aren’t an excuse, but it was a factor for us,” Sakic said. “Tony’s a great guy. He works harder than anybody. Things like injuries we had, that’s tough for any coach to deal with. We were doing fine and then Paul (Stastny) got hurt (Dec. 23). And we were still OK after that for a while, but then things just fell apart for us. We had so many guys go down at once, right on top of each other. After that, you could just see the body language of guys. There just wasn’t much confidence.”

Adrian Dater: 303-954-1360 or adater@denverpost.com

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