Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff left practice early today in First Niagara Center after taking a scary fall in the wake of a collision with defenseman Jordan Leopold. 4:15 UPDATE: The Sabres have tweeted that Ruff suffered three broken ribs but will be at practice Tuesday.
Leopold was working in a 1-on-1 drill with Ville Leino and lost his balance, sliding to the ice and barreling into Ruff from behind. Ruff went airbone and landed hard on the ice, letting out a scream as his body crumpled that echoed through the empty arena.
(News photographer Mark Mulville took video of Ruff being tended to on the ice and it is posted below.)
Trainers quickly attended to Ruff and he gingerly left the ice after a couple minutes clearly favoring his right leg and his right shoulder. Ruff, 51, was unable to hold his daily meeting with reporters as he went to Buffalo General Hospital for X-rays.
"I lost my breath," Leopold said of going to the ice and seeing the impending collision with the NHL's longest-tenured coach. "I was looking back and I kind of yelled, 'Are you all right? Are you all right?' Right away, 'No.' That wasn't a good thing.
"I know Lindy is a tough guy, played a lot of games in the NHL and played through a lot of injuries. Your body ends up hurting more and more the older you get but that was one of those unexpected ones. Those are dangerous."
"To see him in that much pain, he probably has something going on there," added goalie Ryan Miller. "Hopefully we get that sorted out and he's all right. We need him behind the bench yelling and calling the lines. Lindy being a former player, he knew how to take the fall. He took it into his body instead of letting his head whip back or else it could have been really devastating."
Oddly enough, Ruff was the second NHL coach injured in practice today. Edmonton's Tom Renney left his club's workout to get stitches after taking an errant puck in the head.
Update: Here is audio from Jordan Leopold: