BUFFALO — The Sabres’ will be without an important piece Wednesday night against the Bruins, and it isn’t anyone who shows up on the stat sheet.
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, who broke three ribs earlier this week in a collision with defenseman Jordan Leopold, will not be behind the bench when the teams meet Wednesday at First Niagara center. In place of Ruff, assistant coach James Patrick will call the shots from behind the Buffalo bench.
Bruins coach Claude Julien  said the hit shows the potential danger that coaches face in practices, and said that coaches wearing helmets would be logical, though he wouldn’t want to wear one.
“I guess it just goes to show there is a risk in our job as well as those players have, especially in practice,” Julien said. “I’ve had a few collisions with players. It happens. That’s why you’ve got to be ready all the time. When you see it, you can brace yourself, but when you don’t, it can be a tough fall. We don’t have that much protection underneath that sweat suit, except for the extra weight we carry.”
The Sabres will also be without forward Thomas Vanek, who is dealing with an upper-body injury. Vanek participated in Wednesday’s morning skate, but Patrick said after the skate that Vanek would not play.