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Looking down the Marlies roster and seeing the name Mark Bell might surprise some people. This young man had such a promising career when he was drafted 8th overall by Chicago in the 1998 entry draft. He spent his first pro season splitting time between Norfolk and Chicago before becoming a full time Blackhawk in the 2001 – 2002 season. He spent four full years in Chicago before playing the 2006 – 2007 season in San Jose for Ron Wilson. Acquired by Toronto after that season in the Toskala trade, Bell played only 35 games for the Leafs last year, due to injury and some personal problems. With the arrival of Ron Wilson this year, the coach who traded him out of San Jose, the writing was on the wall and Bell was assigned to the Marlies out of camp. So it is of little wonder that he started this year with the Marlies a little sub par. In his first 34 games Mark recorded just 4 goals. Watching Mark a lot of nights he seemed to be just going through the motions. Then something happened. Not sure what!!! Rumour has it that a teammate asked Bell if he was happy with his career ending this way or if he felt he had more to offer. If he did have more to offer it was time to start showing it. Or was it the arrival of Burke, giving rise to the feeling of either a fresh start here in Toronto or a chance to be picked up by another club through waivers? Jim Hughes assistant coach, said he looks like a young man who still feels he can play in the NHL, and he is out to prove it. Over the last 14 games Bell has 8 goals and has looked like a different player.
I feel Bell’s best chance will be a fresh start in a new uniform, either via trade or as a wavier pickup. While he is here I expect to see the player of late, which will be most beneficial not only for Mark but for the Marlies as a team.