Sabres coach Lindy Ruff has three broken ribs after being upended by defenseman Jordan Leopold in practice on Monday.
In providing the update, the Sabres announced that Ruff is expected to be back for practice Tuesday to ”resume his coaching responsibilities.”
Ruff was hurt during a puck-chase drill as Leopold was trying to cut off forward Ville Leino. Ruff was standing in the middle of the ice looking the other way when Leopold lost his footing and went sliding head first and crashed into the back of his coach’s skates.
Ruff fell backward and landed on his right side with a heavy thud, and was fortunate to not hit his head. Witnesses said they heard Ruff yell out in pain.
A Sabres trainer went out to tend to Ruff, who required assistance as he slowly skated off the ice.
”I was racing for the puck with Ville, and I ended up losing an edge,” Leopold said. ”Right when I hit the deck I knew there was no way I was getting up. I was yelling, ‘Heads, heads, heads.’ Lindy had his back to me, and it ended up happening.”
Leopold called it a ”freak accident."
”I lost my breath. I was looking back right when it happened and I yelled, ‘Are you all right?’ And right away, ‘No.’ So that wasn’t a good thing,” he said. ”That was one of those unexpected ones. Those ones are dangerous.”
The Sabres are off until Wednesday, when they play Boston in opening a four-game homestand.
In his 14th season with the Sabres, Ruff is the team’s winningest and longest-serving coach.
His injury is the latest to hit a team that’s been banged-up for much of this season. Captain Jason Pominville is the only player not to have missed a game this year.
”Scary situation, just hoping he’s going to be all right here,” goalie Ryan Miller said after the practice. ”Lindy’s broken a few bones and had a few scrapes and a few cuts in his career. To see him in that much pain, I think he probably has something going on there. And hopefully he’s all right. We need him behind the bench yelling and calling the lines.”