Heatley gets a warning

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

Dany Heatley insists it was an accident.

The skilled Ottawa Senators winger yesterday claimed he in no way deliberately attempted to injure Brendan Bell during an exhibition game in Halifax on Sunday.

Thanks to Heatley's hack, the young Maple Leafs defenceman will be forced to spend a minimum five days wearing a cast on his left foot and using crutches.

"I was just trying to get on top of his stick," Heatley said yesterday in Ottawa. "He moved it out of the way and I hit his foot.

"I wasn't trying to intentionally hurt him. I wouldn't do that. I was just trying to get his stick out of the way."

Colin Campbell, the NHL's top disciplinarian, obviously buys Heatley's story.

Campbell called Senators coach Bryan Murray yesterday and informed him there would be no hearing or suspension for Heatley. He did, however, forward a warning to the skilled forward, presumably about the careless use of his stick.

Heatley is not scheduled to be in the lineup tonight when the Sens meet the Leafs in a pre-season game at the Air Canada Centre.

Bell, meanwhile, had hoped to be back on the ice by the weekend. But doctors are taking the cautious route even though x-rays showed no break in his left ankle.

"It doesn't feel too bad," he said. "The cast, it's precautionary. They just want to keep me immobilized for a little while for about a week and reevaluate Sunday or Monday."

Bell's availability is doubtful, at best, for the first game of the regular season against the Sens next Wednesday at the ACC.

"I hoped to be ready for opening night -- at least practising by then -- but I'm not sure," Bell said. "It's kind of a funny injury. There's no fracture in the bone but there are some complications there. There are some problems. Really, its up to the orthopaedic surgeon to decide where I go from here."

Bell chalked up the injury to a hockey incident.

"There were a couple times in front where (Heatley) was boxing me out, just the regular stuff," Bell said. " I'd like to think it wasn't intentional and there was no intent to injure. It was a big slash. That's part of the game. Unfortunately I ended up on the wrong end of it."

Either way, given that he was making a push to land a spot on the Leafs blue line, the timing stinks.

"Defencemen were dropping like flies here and opportunities were opening up. It's frustrating that I won't be able to finish camp but I'm happy how the first half went."


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