By Greg Wyshynski
Many NHL players are willing to go through walls for their coach. Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold, however, accidentally went through his coach during practice on Monday.
According to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, Leopold lost his balance during a 1-on-1 drill with Ville Leino and slid into coach Lindy Ruff from behind. "Ruff went airbone and landed hard to the ice, letting out a scream as he landed that echoed through the empty arena," writes Harrington.
(That sound you heard were thousands of Sabres fans reading the name "Ville Leino" in the vicinity of catastrophe and saying "of course" simultaneously.)
During Monday's practice, Lindy Ruff was skating backwards towards an area where Jordan Leopold had been taken down and was sliding across the ice. Ruff was accidentally leg-swept by Leopold approximately 30-feet from the goal and hit the playing surface with a huge thud.
SWEEP THE LEG JORDY! We continue:
Ruff remained on the ice where trainers quickly scurried towards him. He laid down on the ice for a couple of minutes before being helped up to his skates. The head coach then skated gingerly, with the assistance of trainers, off the ice and to the locker room.
"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."
Later in the day, the Sabres announced the Ruff suffered three broken ribs in the fall, but is expected to be at practice on Tuesday.
The Sabres aren't in action again until Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins. By that time, we imagine, Brendan Shanahan will have reviewed this video for any supplemental discipline. ("As the video shows, Leopold is looking directly at the back of his coach's skates as he hydroplanes …")
For the record, Leopold played 23:59 in his last game for the Sabres and is averaging 22:06 per game on the season. You know, just in case Lindy's feeling old school after his spill.