Leaf gets Bell rung?

New Maple Leafs forward Mark Bell is being dogged by more trouble, this time from the NHL,...

New Maple Leafs forward Mark Bell is being dogged by more trouble, this time from the NHL, according to a report. (File Photo)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:41 PM ET

Maple Leafs forward Mark Bell continues to make headlines without so much as having played a shift for the National Hockey League club.

TSN reported on its web site last night that Bell has been suspended indefinitely without pay after being placed into stage two of the NHL's substance abuse program.

A message left with Leafs general manager John Ferguson was not immediately returned.

Bell can't be reinstated until he receives the recommendation of program doctors along with the approval of the NHL and the NHLPA. It remains unclear to what extent, if any, Bell can participate when Leafs open training camp Sept. 13.

Acquired from the San Jose Sharks with goalie Vesa Toskala in June for a first-round draft pick and two other picks, the 27-year-old Bell, who has two years and $4.5 million US left on his contract, has been dogged by trouble.

Last month, the native of St. Paul's, Ont., in a California court room, pleaded no contest to charges of driving under the influence and hit-and-run, stemming from an incident on Sept. 1, 2006. Bell was sentenced to six months in jail, which he will serve after the 2007-08 season.

Even though more than a year has passed since that incident occurred, TSN also reported that Bell's plea in that case encouraged his placement into stage two as outlined by the substance abuse program.

In 71 games with the Sharks last season, Bell, who has not lived up to expectations in the NHLsince breaking in with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2000-01, had 11 goals and 10 assists and 83 penalty minutes. In 1998, Bell was picked eighth overall by the Blackhawks.


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