SUN Hockey Pool

Do NHL GMs have the fight stuff?

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

The 30 NHL GMs will take on the issue of fighting at their two-day winter meetings that start tomorrow in Naples, Fla.

While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is well aware there aren't many in the league who would like to see fisticuffs banned, he is determined to see a change in the rules of engagement and wonders if more can be done to help protect the players from themselves.

But many around the league don't believe much is going to change even if the GMs decide to take action.

With the economy on a downslide and ticket sales likely to decline, the sense is the GMs will have a good discussion, but that's all that will happen.

"I'm not sure we're going to see anything change," said a league executive yesterday. "I know that people want to talk about fighting, but we've had these discussions before and nothing has changed. This time, the league says it's serious, but we'll find out."

The GMs will be updated on the state of the teams in financial trouble and NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly will also make a presentation. He will likely add his two cents on the issue of fighting.

Around the boards

Ray Shero was busy around deadline time. Trying to make sure his club gets to the post-season, sources say the Penguins GM tried to re-acquire LW Ryan Malone from the Lightning before making the deal to get LW Chris Kunitz from Anaheim. The belief is the Penguins offered D Ryan Whitney in exchange for Malone, who signed as a UFA with Tampa Bay in the summer. When the Penguins were rebuffed, Shero, looking to add a winger to play alongside Sidney Crosby, went and got Kunitz ... Just wondering: There was talk Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie wanted to get below the NHL's salary midpoint so they could participate in revenue sharing. Did the bizarre deal that sent injured G Olaf Kolzig to Toronto -- essentially in exchange for a fourth- round pick -- help the Bolts accomplish that goal? That might be a reason why RW Gary Roberts has been told he won't play again this season. His cap hit is $2.42 million and that's why nobody has touched him ... There's talk the St. Louis Blues wanted to send LW David Perron and C Keith Tkachuk to the Bruins. The belief is St. Louis wanted C Phil Kessel, but the Bruins have no interest in moving him. That's when Boston turned to Tampa's Mark Recchi.

Off the glass

The Panthers came close to moving D Jay Bouwmeester at the deadline. Sources say the Flyers dropped out of the running at the 11th hour because they didn't have the cash and left the Canucks as the only suitor. Sources say Canucks GM Mike Gillis refused to include D Kevin Bieksa in the deal, which died five minutes before the 3 p.m. EST deadline. Caps GM George McPhee also showed interest in Bouwmeester ... Anybody else notice Los Angeles D Tom Preissing was quietly sent to the club's AHL affiliate in Lowell last week? He has two years left at $2.75 million per season ... There were plenty of suitors for Senators D Filip Kuba, who wound up re-signing with Ottawa for three years at $3.7 million a season. The belief is the New Jersey Devils made the strongest push to acquire Kuba ... Anaheim D Chris Pronger shouldn't get too comfortable and might want to keep his suitcases ready. Scheduled to make $6.25 million next season, he will finish the season with the Ducks, but if D Scott Niedermayer wants to return for another season, Pronger likely won't be back. The Blues, Bruins, Caps, Flyers and Devils all discussed the possibility of acquiring Pronger. A league executive noted the price was "massive" and wasn't sure if Pronger was the right fit. Someone suggested the Ducks should have just traded him back to Edmonton. Wouldn't that have been fitting?

Have a nice Sunday.


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