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Dreger: Shanahan looks at fighting, Leafs look to upgrade

Darren Dreger

9/30/2011 6:27:06 PM

NHL management will always consist of hawks and doves, and the issue of fighting in relation to the league's emphasis on player safety will encourage a raging debate... if the issue is ever brought to a point of decision.

Brendan Shanahan's reported suggestion that fighting will have to be looked as part of the NHL's ongoing study on blows to the head isn't news and Shanahan told TSN he is not attempting to initiate a push to have fighting removed.

Shanahan says fighting and the obvious safety concerns have been discussed by the league in the past and he says while it's a sensitive issue for some, there will be ongoing discussions on the issue.

NHL general managers support a higher standard in how supplemental discipline is applied, but there are some hawks who choose to stay out of the headlines for the time-being. There are GMs who fear hitting in the league will be diminished with each mega-suspension Shanahan hands down and aren't at all interested in challenging the merits of fighting.

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There is little heavy-lifting required for the Toronto Maple Leafs to cut their roster down to 23 for next weeks season opener.

Nazem Kadri is expected to be placed on injured reserve which will allow Toronto to keep an extra body on the roster while he recovers from a knee strain.

The Leafs will keep eight defensemen, with Matt Lashoff likely the odd man out. Meanwhile, close tabs will be kept on both Keith Aulie and Jake Gardiner to ensure they can handle the load.

Aside from the few decisions remaining, Toronto is keenly interested in adding another top forward. 

The Leafs lack experience up front and are in the market for a player with some size and a track record of making an impact.

The Leafs are willing to sacrifice two younger guys to make this deal happen, but see nothing imminent and predict such a player won't spring free until at least November when teams have had a chance to assess their talent, or have stumbled out of the gate.

Toronto intends on being patient, but ready to make an upgrade when the right player comes along.