Flyers' Bellemare 'shocked' by killings in his homeland, Paris
RALEIGH, N.C. _ Flyers center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was feeling bad for himself because an injury had sidelined him for the last eight games.
And then he was jolted by the horror that took place Friday in his homeland, Paris.
Bellemare, 30, will return to the lineup Saturday in Carolina for the first time since Oct. 27.
"I'm excited. Somehow, this whole news kind of put my game into perspective," he said of the killings. "Whatever happened to me the last two weeks....it's kind of somehow less important You don't think about yourself anymore at all. I don't even think about the game so much tonight. I haven't focused about anything else, really," except the tragedy.
Bellemare was born and raised in Paris, and his younger sister, Rose, still lives there; his mom lives 1 1/2 hours from the city.
None of his relatives or friends were injured in the carnage.
"I called my sister; she was far away from there. That's a good thing," he said, adding he checked on his friends on their Facebook pages and found out there were not affected, "so it makes you feel kind of more relaxed about it."
Bellemare, who last season became the ninth France-born player to reach the NHL, said he was "shocked" by the killings. "You don't expect those things to happen. It's terrible," he said. "You just try to give your support to the people."
"When you see the shock of that, it pisses you off," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "No. 1, you feel for the innocent people who were involved...and you get angry pretty quick."
Bellemare said he had attended games in the soccer stadium in which chaos reigned on Friday. He said he would not let the unrest stop him from returning to Paris in the summer.
"This won't stop people who are from France and Paris to go back," he said.
When Bellemare returns to the lineup Saturday, he will be centering Taylor Leier and Sam Gagner. He said it would be exciting to be next to Leier as he makes his NHL debut.