Mair escapes with only fine

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. -- All Adam Mair wanted to do was put a "scare" into the Senators.

That's his story anyway.

"I know we don't play those guys (again) until January, so I just wanted to wish those guys a Happy Halloween," Mair said yesterday in Buffalo.

The Sabres forward escaped with only a $2,500 (all terms US) fine from NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell for charging down the hallway Monday at HSBC Arena in search of Senators winger Chris Neil in the waning minutes of Ottawa's 5-2 victory.

"Before the game ended, I just had a few words with one of the Ottawa players," said Mair.

How did the Ottawa players respond to his visit?

"They just said, 'Merry Christmas,' " said Mair. "You obviously want to leave the emotions on the ice. It's a competitive sport. You're battling for every inch of the ice. Emotions get high and you expect them to be that way."

NEIL NOT UPSET

Neil said he wasn't upset that Mair avoided a suspension.

"It's not my call. It's the league's call. They are going to say whatever is right and whatever they feel, is right," said Neil. "They've done a good job over the years of giving out the right suspensions.

"When you're out there, tempers flare. Guys get under one another's skin. Especially with him. We have a long battle against each other and it's just one of those things. He's out there and he's competing hard. You can never take that away from him. He works hard. He just shows emotion a little too much sometime."

Mair also responded to Neil calling him "a punching bag."

"I think he got a good taste of a punching bag from (Andrew Peters), so we'll leave it at that," said Mair.

Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff wasn't impressed with Mair's actions on Monday.

"It's something as a team and even as a coach, I don't condone," said Ruff. "It was a mistake on our part and it's been dealt with."

Off the glass

Senators W Jesse Winchester is the only freshman on the team, but he wasn't forced to pay the whole bill at Tuesday's rookie dinner at a Fort Lauderdale restaurant. The veterans only made Winchester, who is making $575,000 US this season, pay a portion and the rest of the players helped pick up what is normally a huge tab. Senators coach Craig Hartsburg said yesterday he has been pleased with Winchester's effort. "He's a player that's still trying to get himself comfortable in the NHL," said Hartsburg. "We tried to throw him in a lot of situations in training camp and I think he's been a solid player for us. (Making the jump) is normal for most young players and there's lots of young players playing in the league and I don't know how many are having success. He's playing solid." ... Panthers president Michael Yormark laid off 10 employees -- mostly in the corporate sales department -- on Tuesday ... The Senators want to pick up where they left off against the Sabres. "We played a good game and that's great. Now, we've got to kind of build and play a couple of good games in a row so that we can become a good team. That's our focus. It felt good to play a good game and now we've just got to make it a habit," said Senators C Jason Spezza.


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