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Ullmark grateful for Sabres' support following death of father

Sara Schmidle / National Hockey League / Getty

Buffalo Sabres netminder Linus Ullmark has been absent for the club's last two games, and on Thursday he revealed why.

After Monday morning's skate, Ullmark's mother gave him the news that his father passed away in Sweden at the age of 63. The 27-year-old was supposed to start that night but understandably told the Sabres he needed to take some time away.

"There was no question about it for me, personally," Ullmark said, according to team reporters Brian Duff and Chris Ryndak.

"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."

Ullmark, who's spent his entire six-year career in Buffalo, credited his teammates and the entire organization for supporting him through such a difficult time.

"You never know about these things, how you're going to feel and how you're going to handle it," Ullmark said. "But I feel a lot of gratitude towards the boys, towards the organization, and everyone around it. It's been very supportive ever since they found out so a lot of love to them.

"We're always speaking that we have two families," he said. "We have a family at home and we have our family in the team. That certainly was one of the confirmers about how I feel and hopefully how they feel about the team."

Ullmark plans on practicing with the Sabres Thursday before the club heads to Washington for a pair of matchups with the Capitals on Friday and Sunday.

The Swedish puck-stopper made 19 saves in a 2-1 loss to Washington in his only start so far this season.

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