ATLANTA -- Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was in Buffalo on Monday for his daughter's doctor's appointment, and assistant coaches directed the team in Monday night's 5-0 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers.
Ruff recently revealed that his 11-year-old daughter, Madeleine, has been diagnosed with an unidentified mass on her brain. Ruff said he may have to miss more practices and games to be with his daughter.
Buffalo players did not blame the loss on the absence of their coach, but Atlanta's Slava Kozlov said it was clear the Sabres were thinking about Ruff.
"The Sabres did not show up tonight for one reason and that's their coach," Kozlov said. "He was not here today and I think all their minds were on him."
Assistants Scott Arniel and Brian McCutcheon were in charge of the team Monday night and Ruff wass expected to return Tuesday.
"Maybe we were a little bit out of character," said Buffalo goalie Martin Biron, who called the Sabres' play "not typical."