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Adam Mair - "It's a numbers thing"

So much for maintaining grit and toughness on the team. In a surprise move, on Monday the Buffalo Sabres placed forward Adam Mair on waivers. No other team claimed Mair by the noon Tuesday deadline, so it looks like Mair will be staying in Buffalo for the time being. There is also the possibility that Mair could be sent down to Portland, which means that he would dress for the Pirates game at HSBC Arena this Thursday, November 12.

The popular Mair is the second longest tenured player on the team, arriving via trade from the Los Angeles Kings in 2002-03, in exchange for former first round draft pick Erik Rasmussen.

The Sabres have had a glut of forwards this season, many who qualify for the third or fourth line, and something has to give. A couple of weeks ago, Daniel Paille was traded to the Boston Bruins, and with the Sabres grooming younger players to fill the fourth line role, Mair becomes expendable.

Cody McCormick and Jeff Cowan are two examples of players who can easily fill the Mair role, McCormick is the younger of the two and is already showing his tough with the Portland Pirates, though many thought he would make the big club out of training camp in the “enforcers” role.

General Manager Darcy Regier called a press conference on Monday and addressed the Mair situation. “I’ve looked at the possibility of trading him around the same time as the Paille situation. It’s a numbers thing given where we are with Tim Kennedy making the team and Mike Grier, and we’ve got extra forwards. He’s not playing, and it’s a contract year for him, and it’s an opportunity for him to hopefully get a chance elsewhere.”

Judging from his comments, it appears that Regier tried very hard to work some sort of deal to get something in return for Mair, but was unable to get any nibbles. “There’s interest, and I think people recognize that he is an NHL player, The situation you get into is that teams have a lot of players. Teams have extra players signed and that plays into the situation.

Mair has only appeared in three games this season, and has logged just over 23 minutes of ice time in those games.

November swoon looking like last season

Remember the 2008-09 campaign? The Sabres started off that season with a 6-0-2 record, taking over first place in the Northeast Division.

We all know how that turned out... November turned out to be a brutal month, and the slide to oblivion and the struggle for just a playoff berth began once the team faced some real opposition.

So judging from this past weekend, fans have to be scratching their heads and asking if the team is relegating itself to the same fate. The Sabres failed to beat the Philadelphia Flyers even once last season, and came up small once again this past Friday. The following night in Boston, the team played horribly in front of third string goalie Jhonas Enroth. Four points lost to teams that the Sabres are supposedly competing against for conference supremacy.

The Sabres need a capable backup goalie. The formula of riding Miller to the point of exhaustion is not serving this team well, and although Coach Lindy Ruff continually expresses confidence in his backup, the results suggest otherwise.

Unfortunately, the Sabres are actually up against the salary cap, what with all the boxcar contracts being handed out to very mediocre performers. As of this week they appear to be within $1.4-million of the cap (incuding Mair’s salary), and shedding salaries of players like Dan Paille or Adam Mair provides just some respite.

With three games in four night situations on the Sabres schedule as far as the eye can see, the Sabres must have some good nights and performances from its backup goaltenders, Patrick Lalime, or in his absence Jhonas Enroth, if this team is going to have any chance. Better yet, maybe its time for Regier to find someone who can come to Buffalo, play the backup role and actually win a few games. Marty Biron... please phone home!

Taro Sez...

-Favorite Adam Mair moment, Part 1—Mair calls Senators forward Dany Heatley a murderer on the ice, almost sparks a corridor brawl after the game.

-Favorite Adam Mair moment, Part 2—Sabres and Penguins play exhibition game in 2007 at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Mair’s home town. Mair earns boos and derision from the hometown fans, who apparently still believe that their lack of having their own NHL team is all Buffalo’s fault. Loudest boos of the night come when Mair lines up for his turn in the marathon shootout.

-Visits to Saginaw and Windsor this past weekend by the Ultimate Sports Road Trip makes 13 of 20 Ontario Hockey League venues in the “done” column. Check out the reports and venue profiles online at

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