Brendan Bell left the dressing room on crutches [Saturday] night after Toronto's 3-2 National Hockey League exhibition game loss to the Ottawa Senators in Halifax.For those who haven't seen it, the play that appears to have broken Bell's foot happened when he had the puck at the point and was looking to make a play. Senators star Dany Heatley came out to pressure him, but instead of trying to block the shot or pick Bell's pocket, Heatley took a baseball swing — with a backswing that was approximately eye level — in the direction of the puck.
He was taken to hospital for examination, but there was no report on the severity of the injury.
"He took a slash," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "It's precautionary. We're going to see how he is tomorrow."
He missed. And now Bell has a broken foot.
Sure, Bell's a marginal player looking to occupy a marginal position on a marginal franchise, but you can be sure, if the roles were reversed and it had been his baseball swing crippling Heatley, we'd currently be hearing fans calling for the rookie's head.
As it stands, Heatley's the perpetrator of this mindless — and dangerous — whacking, and he should be suspended for a regular-season game or two to make ammends.
Interestingly enough, the Leafs face the Senators in Games 1 and 2 when the contests start to matter next week. And you can bet Toronto GM John Ferguson has his tape of what happened in the mail to the NHL's head office.