Let's recap JFJ's thought process as the 2006/07 season ended. It may have gone something like this. "We were 8th in scoring last year with over 3 goals per game on average. However, we were 25th in goals against with over 3 goals per game on average. Our goaltender have a save percentage under .900 and a GAA greater than 3. We have 4 top calibre defenseman and a plethora of young developing ones. Where do we need to upgrade?"
It's a fact, and something largely overlooked, that Mark Bell was a throw in for the Leafs to get the caviar they wanted in Vesa Toskala. Is the potential for another 20+ goal scorer on the wings a nice thought? Sure it is, but it can't be misconstrued as the purpose of the trade.
The trade was meant to bolster the goaltending. Mark Bell was a throw in, so to speak, albeit a throw in with alot of potential. JFJ knew full well the off-ice problems of Bell before he acquired him and I'm sure spoke with the vast array of Leafs legal advisors about the risks involved in signing such a player.
If Bell's words from a few weeks ago are in fact genuine and he has not had any alcohol since the accident, then expect this suspension to be short and swift. When it is lifted, Bell will resume his career this season, and could surprise alot of people playing in front of his hometown crowd. Let's not forget, he put up some pretty good numbers in Chicago playing with some not so stellar linemates.
Then comes summer 2008 when he'll have to get accustomed to a new home: Behind bars in a jail in some remote county in California.