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Summertime Hockey

SummerpracticeTook in a little practice at Incredible Ice on Tuesday and was impressed not only with the number of players out there, but with the speed and work done on the ice.

While I was impressed with the turnout last year, it appears this year is even better. And, with Finnish coach Vesa Surenkin running things, there's more cohesion and more work being accomplished.

"He's really running us,'' defenseman Mike Van Ryn said, resting after the hard workout that included laps around the ice.

Players in attendance (that I remember): Van Ryn, Ruslan Salei, Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton, Kamil Kreps, Olli Jokinen, Craig Anderson, Tomas Vokoun, Drew Larman, Richard Zednik, Steve Montador. Also in the house: Roberto Luongo, Brendan Witt and Viktor Kozlov.

-- Jay Bouwmeester got his legal issues cleared up Tuesday, pleading guilty to his DUI charge from last summer in Edmonton. According to TSN, Bouwmeester got a one-year driving probation and a $1,000 fine.

I know Bo is embarrassed this whole thing ever happened and I'm sure he's glad to have it behind him. Lesson learned? The Panthers hope so, and I think yes. Now we have to see if the NHL is going to further punish Jay because his guilty plea leads to a conviction.

-- On a similar note, the NHL has suspended Leafs' forward Mark Bell indefinitely after being convicted of drunk driving last month. In this case, someone got hurt.  Bell confirmed the suspension to the Toronto Star, and says he won't appeal it.

Bell was charged with a hit-and-run on the outskirts of San Jose on Labor Day 2006. He was traded to the Leafs along with goalie Vesa Toskala on draft day. Bell says he's been in a recovery program and hasn't partaken of alcohol since the accident.

After the season ends, Bell is to serve six months in prison.

"They said I'll get over it and just keep moving ahead," Bell told the Star. "I'm meeting it head on, and taking steps to make it better, and learning from mistakes I made."

To read more on Bell's suspension, check out the Star's story here TORONTO STAR, EH.

For a good read on Bell's road to recovery and getting himself straightened out, check here MORE STAR STUFF

-- The Panthers open up their rookie camp tomorrow in Kitchner, Ont. Will have more info on that in another post. JM is apparently in Winnipeg scouting the Russian/Canada junior super series, and will join up with the rest of the organization in Kitchner tomorrow.

-- Interesting news out of San Jose today where Jeremy Roenick has signed a one-year deal to play for the Sharks and forgo retirement for a little while longer.

"We feel he can add something to the talented group of players on our club,'' GM Doug Wilson said in a statement, "and we feel that this is an environment where Jeremy can be successful."

It should be noted that JR is only five goals shy of the 500 plateau.

-- Montreal unveiled their new unis today, with Calgary and Pittsburgh on deck. Not much change for the Habs, as expected.  And welcomed. Habsjerseys