What can Adam Mair do for you? Likely nothing.
I mean, come on, they’re sitting comfortably in 1st place in the Northeast Division. As the games come and go, the team gets closer to securing a top three seed in the postseason and a new banner for the HSBC Arena rafters. They’ve been playing pretty much lights out since Christmas, posting a 8-2-4 record in the 14 games after the holiday.
But there’s one thing that has been bothering me. And it’s been a disturbing trend.
That trend is the continual appearance of Adam Mair‘s name in the Sabres’ lineup.
They’ve been winning a good amount of games lately, save the last three, so I’m sure you’re wondering what the problem is. Adam Mair is a heart and soul guy, you’ll say. He works hard, you tell me. Well, I’m telling you, Adam Mair has no business being in the lineup on a winning team with a healthy roster.
Quick trivia question: Who is the only player on the Sabres roster who has not scored a goal this season?
(I’ll give you a hint. He sucks.)
Personally, I don’t see what positive qualities Mair brings to the team. I see an untalented player who fights the puck when it’s on his stick. Mair seems to disorient whoever he is on the ice with, missing assignments or just failing to accomplish them, leading to lapses in executing Ruff’s game plan.
This has been incredibly evident in the last two or three games. He’s been taking lazy penalties, including a slashing call against San Jose and holding the stick against the Kings. His inability to recognize what he’s supposed to do was blatantly obvious on the first Sharks goal the other night. Mair, skating in no man’s land, failed to keep the puck in the zone, leaving Steve Montador back by himself to recover the puck.
Montador, as we know, coughed it up, but it was an unmarked Joe Pavelski who skated in alone to put the puck past Miller. Trailing Pavelski was, naturally, Lindy’s favorite slob, unable to have any positive impact on the play.
While it would be easy for me to recall individual plays where Mair failed to contribute, you can look at the season on the whole and see where the problem lies.
Mair’s statistics: 37 GP. 0 goals, 5 assists. -1. 36 PIM.
He is simply not contributing. Of all the players who have played at least 10 games for the Sabres this season, Mair has been on the ice for the fewest Sabres goals, only 10. Whatever offensive flair his linemates have, Mair does a great job suppressing it.
Mair’s lack of contributions offensively isn’t a surprise though. The team is really good. Buffalo can almost coast to a division title. And Adam tends to have a history of not doing much for good teams. The Sabres have made the playoffs just twice since Mair was acquired from Los Angeles in 2002.
Here are his stats from the two times he has been on playoff teams:
2005-06: 40 GP. 2 goals, 5 assists. -2. 47 PIM. 7:59 TOI/game.
2006-07: 82 GP. 2 goals, 9 assists. -1. 128 PIM. 7:33 TOI/game.
He was a minor contributor on both teams. I’ll contend that his presence in 82 games in the ’06-’07 season is due to the absence of Tim Connolly for pretty much the whole season, as Mair was pretty much the 11th or 12th forward for most of that year.
Compare that to his career years where he actually had some offensive output, which are, coincidentally, years the Sabres missed the playoffs:
2002-03: 79 GP. 6 goals, 11 assists. -4. 146 PIM. 10:36/TOI game.
2003-04: 81 GP. 6 goals, 14 assists. -3. 146 PIM. 9:38/TOI game.
2007-08: 72 GP. 5 goals, 12 assists. -2. 66 PIM. 8:51/TOI game.
2008-09: 75 GP. 8 goals, 11 assists. +4. 95 PIM. 10:34/TOI game.
Notice a bit of a trend? If the team uses Mair too much… they suck! A winning team can’t rely on a player such as Adam Mair.
I have no personal problem with the guy. He seems like a good team guy who’s liked by his teammates. But you could say the same for Andrew Peters. Good people don’t necessarily make good hockey players.
It’s incredibly frustrating to watch Mair be easily the worst player on the ice many nights. Especially when Matt Ellis, whose play has been solid all year, sitting in the press box. Especially when guys like Nate Gerbe and Tyler Ennis are tearing it up in Portland waiting for a chance to crack the lineup. Having Mair play with guys like Tim Kennedy and Patrick Kaleta is just stifling their ability to do what they do best, bring energy. Mair doesn’t bring anything other than problems.
The stats only back up the argument. The Buffalo Sabres, who on the season have a .670 winning percentage, are 21-10-6 (.617) with Adam Mair in the lineup. 9-3-1 (.731) without Mair. Not hard to figure out… the team is better when Mair is not in uniform.
I wish the coaching staff would be able to figure that out themselves.