Brendan's bell rung

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Brendan Bell escaped serious injury after being slashed by Ottawa...

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Brendan Bell escaped serious injury after being slashed by Ottawa Senators forward Dany Heatley over the weekend. (Toronto Sun File/David Lucas)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Brendan Bell simply was glad to escape with much of his health.

The Maple Leafs defenceman expects to be back on the ice soon after he was slashed by the Ottawa Senators' Dany Heatley during a pre-season game in Halifax on Sunday night.

It appears Bell, vying for one of the open spots on the blue line, is dealing with nothing more than a bone bruise.

"It was a little bit nerve-wracking," Bell said yesterday.

"I was pretty scared. Usually the pain goes away fairly quickly, but this time it kept getting worse. I want to play as many games as possible and do well."

Bell is wearing a walking cast on his foot and is on crutches to keep the pressure off. He said he would like to be back in the lineup this weekend as the Leafs end the pre-season with a home-and-home set against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Leafs, who were given yesterday off by coach Paul Maurice after playing three games in three nights, are dealing with a number of injured defencemen. General manager John Ferguson said Tomas Kaberle (groin) and Pavel Kubina (hip flexor) still are day to day. Staffan Kronwall (ankle) and Carlo Colaiacovo (head) remain indefinite.

The Leafs have only three pre-season games remaining, including a visit by the Sens tomorrow night. Unless injuries continue to cloud the picture, it's probable Maurice will have his final roster settled for the two games against the Red Wings.

The NHL has looked at tape of the Heatley slash on Bell.

"I'm not sure if it was intentional but it was a pretty big chop," Bell said.

"It's not for to me to decide (whether Heatley should be punished)."

Meanwhile, there were no surprises yesterday among the nine cuts made by the Leafs. Sent to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL were goalie Justin Pogge, defencemen Dominic D'Amour, Tyson Marsh and Jaime Sifers and forwards Jiri Tlusty, Kris Newbury, Robbie Earl, John Mitchell and Jeremy Williams.

The Marlies, under new coach Greg Gilbert, open camp today and have their first pre-season game tomorrow night in Oshawa against the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Ferguson hinted Tlusty, the Leafs' first-round pick this past June, might end up with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, who have his junior rights.

"It's rare for an 18-year-old to play in the AHL," Ferguson said.

"We're going to see how it goes for him (in four pre-season games with the Marlies)."


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