Bell Chimes In an Answer at LW

By Bill Placzek

This year’s training camp ended with everyone viewing a different Mark Bell. The one we viewed this season was more relaxed, confident and a beneficiary of a year in the farm beside teaching coach Trent Yawney. Everybody saw the difference on the ice.

Mark Bell, future Hawk centre certainly would play in the NHL eventually. The question as training camp ended was if he would be able to crack the Hawk line-up there this season, where lack of ice time while dressed for games and press box time when scratched would only serve to dampen his spirits.
Coach Brian Sutter saw an opportunity for Mark Bell to play in Chicago now. But it would be in a job position where his performance each night would dictate if he would return for the next game to play again. And it would not be at the position where he was heir. It would be as the third line LW. Left wing is the position that this writer stated Bell would be better suited for three years ago, but a 3rd line Left wing has to play a much more rigorous game than any centre, and the job is one where being physical is a certainty to success.
So far Mark Bell has answered the call each night he has fought, scored and never been a passenger on a team whose early success is somewhat tied to his success.
Granted, The Hawks good record early on reflect the play of all of the pieces. The emergence of Thibault as an early competitor who can keep teams under three goals has to rank high in the success. And the early sniping by young diminutive forward Kyle Calder and young vet Eric Daze certainly cannot be ignored. but it some ways, Bell is part of the glue that keeps the early voyage of the SS Blackhawk watertight and afloat so far.
Though most plays tied to the Blackhawks long term future have not see action in the AHL, but Mike Leighton continues to play solid in the Norfolk goal and has a goals against under 2.
Is McCarthy disgruntled by his what looks like a permanent stay in the AHL?
It would seen to be,indicated by the Hawks actually letting his name come into trade talks for Tomas Kaberle.
Maybe the Hawk brass sees the benefit of an instant fix for the NHL defense in Kaberle, but cannot be knocked for bringing McCarthy along slowly and placing him below the defensemen who actually played in pre-season and made the roster.
Or maybe the Hawks have started to realize that at 6 foot, McCarthy, a #3 type defensemen, will never aspire to be the type of defensemen they need: A large two way guy with the offensive prowess that McCarthy may have, plus the ability to be a defensive force in a time when they are lacking it. But how many Prongers and Blakes are there? Can you say Jay Bouwmeester?

Can Tomas Kaberle be fitted in that list? Not yet so far.

It remains to be seen that McCarthy is the bait in any probable Leaf deal. When I hear Hogglund’s name mention along with Tomas Kaberle’s, that makes me think Amonte and not McCarthy is who the Leafs are shooting for. Stay tuned.