Shortly before Monday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center, the Buffalo Sabres announced that goalie Jonas Johansson had been called up from the taxi squad as scheduled starter Linus Ullmark was going to miss the game due to personal reasons. Carter Hutton ended up starting the game on Monday, and helped Buffalo earn a 6-1 win over the Flyers.
Following the game, head coach Ralph Krueger said that it would be up to Ullmark when he wants to speak on the matter.
On Thursday, Ullmark opened up to Sabres.com about his recent absence, revealing that his father had passed away in Sweden.
"I had my worst pregame skate in my whole life, probably," Ullmark recalled. "Usually when these things sort of happen, with me, there's always been a common theme, and that's been that my dad has either been very sick or that something bad has happened back home. I sensed that something was wrong."
Ullmark told Sabres.com that he had been checking his phone a lot since his father had entered a hospital in Sweden last week. When he got off the ice on Monday, he said he had gotten a missed call from his mother bearing the sad news.
At that point, Ullmark talked with the coaching staff and support staff, asking to take some time away from hockey.
"There was no question about it for me, personally," Ullmark said. "…I just told them that hockey's not a priority at the time. From there, it was basically just trying to deal with all the emotions that came. I've been kind of holding back."
According to Sabres.com, Ullmark's father was 63. The team also said that Ullmark's father was never able to get to see Linus play in North America, but he followed his son's career very closely.
The team also wrote that Ullmark is planning to practice with his teammates on Thursday in Buffalo, and will then travel with the team for their upcoming two-game series against the Washington Capitals.
"You never know about these things, how you're going to feel and how you're going to handle it. But I feel a lot of gratitude towards the boys, towards the organization and everyone around it," Ullmark said in closing. "It's been very supportive ever since they found out so a lot of love to them."
Our thoughts are with Ullmark and his famil
The Sabres will face the Capitals for Game 1 of their two-game set on Friday at 7 p.m. EST at Capital One Arena. You can hear all of the action on the Radio Home of the Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.