April 10, 2007
by Brian Wheeler
Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff decided to go with experience over youthful exuberance. The longest tenured coach in the NHL divulged on Tuesday that Adam Mair would be skating on Buffalo's fourth line with rookie Drew Stafford
and pivot Tim Connolly when the Sabres open their first-round match-up with the New York Islanders (MSG, WGR 550-AM, 8 p.m.).
Mair earned a spot in the starting lineup by his work during the regular season.
"[Mair's] been here a long time," said Ruff of the six-year veteran. "He's played every game this year and he's played hard. He's been there for teammates. Within our system, he's played very hard and he deserves to play."
Mair was only one of four player to see action in all 82 regular season contests. He finished the season with a pair of goals and 11 points, while posting a team-high 128 penalty minutes. Brian Campbell, Jason Pominville
and Thomas Vanek
were the other three ironmen.
The 28-year-old was competing with rookie Daniel Paille for left-wing responsibilities on the energy line.
During last season's playoffs, Mair saw limited time in three games, finishing with a minus-two rating.
"Danny Paille has played very well also," said Ruff. "Adam has a few years on him. We could go different directions. We could go with Connolly, Paille and Mair. But at the same time, [Stafford] has played very well coming up."
Paille, 22, has scored three goals and 11 points in 29 games this season, but his biggest contribution has come as a member of the penalty kill where he averages 1:50 TOI per game in man-down situations.
"Those are tough decisions that end up being easy decisions," said Ruff. "I think [Mair's] teammates looked at him as being a good teammate, and a guy that is always there for him."