Finally, Brendan Bell can say he’s exactly where he wants to be.
Even if it took a little longer than he’d hoped or expected.
With their offence struggling to light up the scoreboard, the Ottawa Senators simply couldn’t ignore the numbers the offensive-minded Bell was ringing up with their American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y.
“Fifteen points in 15 games doesn’t hurt,” Bell said when asked what made Senators general manager Bryan Murray and head coach Craig Hartsburg decide he was the man they needed to add some punch to their blue line.
“Bryan and Craig can’t watch every game in Binghamton, so it’s nice (for them) to hear there was a goal and an assist and the power play is doing well and all the things I’m expected to be doing are going well.”
Though he has yet to produce any points, Hartsburg has been pleased with what Bell has brought to the Senators lineup.
“I think he’s played well,” said Hartsburg. “He’s quick, he can move the puck and I think he’s smart in finding open people. We’ll continue to try him, but I think he’s done a good job for us so far.”
The former Ottawa 67’s captain signed with the Senators as a free agent over the summer and came to training camp with one goal in mind. After spending most of last season with the Phoenix Coyotes’ AHL farm team in San Antonio, Tex., Bell wanted full-time employment in the National Hockey League in a city that happens to be his hometown.
Needless to say, when the Senators demoted him to Binghamton before the end of camp, it was a bitter pill to swallow. But Bell didn’t allow himself to mope for too long.
“It was difficult,” he said. “With a shortened camp and (the season openers) in Sweden and all that stuff, it happened pretty quickly. But I got over it pretty quick. I took 10 or 15 minutes, felt sorry for myself and then that was over with pretty fast.
“Then I went to Binghamton and figured that I’d be as good as I possibly could every day and get back here as quick as possible.”
Said Hartsburg: “He didn’t have the camp that we thought he would have. He admitted he was a little nervous coming in here but going down (to Binghamton), he’s played pretty well and done what we thought he would do at camp.”
"He’s quick, he can move the puck and I think he’s smart in finding open people. We’ll continue to try him, but I think he’s done a good job for us so far." - Craig Hartsburg
Bell, a third-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2001, knows exactly what he brings to the table, and so do the Senators.
“I’m an offensive guy and I like to try to generate offence from the back end,” he said. “I think that’s the one area I can really help.”
The Senators are also hoping Bell can add some juice to their power play, which has seen its production drop off in recent games. He welcomes that challenge as well.
“That’s the one thing they spoke about, even after training camp when I was cut,” said the 25-year-old Bell. “Go down there and be very good on the power play. To this point, I have been and they’ve giving me an opportunity here to play on the power play.
“If we can get that moving in the right direction, I think that can help not only the team but myself…. Things have been going pretty well in the three games I’ve been around. The team is playing better and, hopefully, starting to turn the corner.
“I’m just trying to contribute to that as best as I can.”