Bell sits while Simon chucks

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

It's a tale of two suspended players.

While the Maple Leafs' Mark Bell is not allowed to participate in any pre-season games, the New York Islanders' Chris Simon was busy chucking his fists during an exhibition brawlfest against the rival Rangers yesterday.

Simon was slapped with a 25-game suspension for a stick incident against the Rangers' Ryan Hollweg on March 8, leaving Leafs coach Paul Maurice fielding questions as to why Simon can play and Bell can't.

While Maurice stickhandled around the issue, NHL vice-president Bill Daly set the record straight last night.

"Mark has been suspended in accordance with the terms of the Substance Abuse and Behavioural Health Program, and as terms of that suspension, is ineligible to play in any pre-season games," Daly explained.

Bell, meanwhile, continues to do his work in the weight room while being frustrated at not having the chance to play.

"He's doing okay," Maurice said. "He's dealing with the same sore groin ailment a number of our guys have.

"His conditioning is improving but it's not easy for him when you are not playing."

NET GAINS

Goalie Vesa Toskala will get his second start as a Maple Leaf tonight with the Buffalo Sabres providing the opposition.

Andrew Raycroft is pencilled in as the starter for the home date against the Detroit Red Wings Friday.

Toskala finishes out the pre-season against those same Wings at Joe Louis Arena Saturday.


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