The Buffalo Sabres may have a burst of energy inserted into its lineup for the Eastern Conference Finals. After missing the last 15 games with post-concussion symptoms, including the first and second rounds of the playoffs, forward Adam Mair has been cleared for contact by team doctors and could see action very soon.
"There are still a couple of steps to go in terms of going back to (see a specialist) in Pittsburgh and making sure everything is onboard," said Mair following practice. "Yesterday in talking with the doctors there and here, (the doctors) wanted to send me up there to do a full battery tests.
"I think that's going to take place next week."
Mair missed 31 games after suffering a concussion against Phoenix on January 12. He returned briefly to the lineup for three games in early April, but was forced to miss the remainder of the regular season when his symptoms resumed.
"First of all, we want to make sure that we get him in a lot of contact situations in practice," said Ruff concerning the steps the forward will need to take. "That's our first concern."
If Mair sees action against the Hurricanes, the team knows exactly what to expect. In 40 games during the regular season, the Hamilton, Ontario native chipped in just two goals and seven points, while logging 47 penalty minutes.
"He's a high-energy guy, a great hitter, and someone who wears his emotions right on his shirt sleeve and brings it every time he's on the ice," said Ruff.
"I'm worried he was going to hurt someone in practice with the way he's been skating. I don't think he needs to catch-up (to game speed). I think we'd have to unwind him before we played him because he's getting pretty fired up."
In 10 career-playoff games as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mair recorded a goal and 22 penalty minutes.
"It's an exciting time of year," Mair said. "It would be great to get in there and contribute."
While Mair inches closer to the rink, center Tim Connolly will remain a plane ride away from Game One. Ruff announced to the media on Thursday that Connolly will not make the trip to Carolina this Saturday, guaranteeing he will miss the opening game of the best-of-seven series.