Bellemare playing with a heavy heart after his mother’s passing

TAMPA BAY, FL – When a young Pierre-Edouard Bellemare started playing ice hockey, he didn’t have a bag filled with brand new equipment. He wasn’t shooting pucks with the latest, state of the art stick. For much of his childhood, he grew up playing the game with a third-string pair of skates that were so small his feet would curl up inside the boots.

But without those skates, Bellemare probably wouldn’t be playing in the NHL. And without the relentless hard work and dedication from his single mother, Frederique, he probably never would have had those skates to begin with.

“My mom’s involvement was huge,” said Bellemare. “We started playing hockey right around the time my father decided he wasn’t going to show up anymore. Once we decided to start skating, it became really clear that, because of our financial situation, we didn’t have the money for it. But my mom always found solutions.”

Bellemare started playing hockey when he was six and a half years old, along with his brother Geoffroy-Alexis, who was 10 at the time. Their mother did whatever was necessary to allow her two sons to play hockey, even while raising three daughters as well. But it wasn’t about the money for Frederique. She just wanted her boys to obey one life lesson both on and off the ice – always give 110%.

Lightning’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare drives fourth-line heroics

TAMPA BAY, FL – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare didn’t want to give himself too much credit following the Lightning’s 4-1 win over the Kraken Monday afternoon in Seattle.

Locked in a tight-checking game with not many scoring opportunities, Tampa Bay’s top offensive threats were quiet and the Lightning needed a jolt from their bottom two lines.

Bellemare doesn’t score much. His job is to center a fourth line focused on playing a heavy game and possessing the puck, winning faceoffs and being an anchor on the penalty kill.

But in a game like Monday’s, where Tampa Bay had to find its offensive game from somewhere other than its top-six forwards, Bellemare made sure he was in the right place at the right time.

In a first period that saw the Lightning make 25 shot attempts (15 on goal), they were sustaining zone time and pressuring the net. But it wasn’t until Bellemare deflected an Ian Cole shot past goaltender Philipp Grubauer with 1:17 left in the period that the Lightning were rewarded with a goal, the game’s only tally in the first two periods.

“It’s depth,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “And that’s the difference with some teams. When you have some depth, it helps you win some hockey games, and in a game like (Monday’s), when (Nikita Kucherov) or (Steven Stamkos) or (Brayden Point) isn’t getting one, you need somebody like ‘Belly’ to get it for you, and it turns out to be a big one for us.”

Even on record-setting night, Lightning’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare takes no game for granted

TAMPA BAY, FL – You have to look deeper to see the true impact center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has in the Lightning locker room. An important but often overlooked contributor on good teams for close to a decade, he continues to play that role as he nears his 38th birthday.

When players first join the Lightning, Jon Cooper likes to be one of the first to call them. Typically, he finds himself doing most of the talking as the players try to feel out their new head coach. But when Cooper first spoke with Bellemare two offseasons ago, it was different.

Bellemare using NHL European Player Media Tour to grow hockey in France

PARIS, FRANCE – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was understandably the most excited among the 19 players at the NHL European Player Media Tour in Paris on Wednesday.

Born in the Paris suburb of Le Blanc-Mesnil, the Tampa Bay Lightning forward normally returns to the City of Lights once a year with his family to visit his sister. But like everyone else, he didn’t travel much the past two offseasons because of the coronarius pandemic.

So having the NHL use Paris for the first time as the European site to promote its upcoming season was a welcome opportunity for Bellemare to come home and bring more attention to the sport he loves in his native country.

“I think it’s pretty cool. I love it,” Bellemare said. “The only downside of it is the French media is not aware. I would’ve loved to have French media so we could use it also for growing the game in France because it’s needed.”

Bellemare, who lives in Skelleftea, Sweden, in the offseason, is one of three players born in France who played in the NHL last season, along with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier and Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Roussel. He’s one of 13 born in the country to play in the NHL in its history.

With hockey rarely in the spotlight in France, the NHL is exploring ways to change that. In fact, the European Player Media Tour might be the start of the League having more of a presence here.

“Part of the reason we decided to come to Paris was in part another short summer, and we’re asking our players to make a commitment to capture media content to promote the game,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. “In making that request you want to pick a location in Europe that players want to spend time in and bring guests to. Part of it is about accommodating player interests, but do we have an interest in making hockey bigger in France generally? Of course, we do.

“That starts at the grassroots level, more participation in hockey.”

It could eventually lead an NHL game in Paris.

“Obviously a very mature, wealthy economy here in Paris,” Deputy Commissioner Daly said. “It would be great to bring teams over here at some point in the future and play a game. Probably a preseason game at first, but that’s certainly on the radar screen, although maybe a longer-term radar.”

Lightning’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare hopes to make most of return to Stanley Cup final

TAMPA BAY, FL – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had his choice of teams when it came time to decide where he wanted to continue his career last offseason.

Coming off a second-round playoff ouster following a Presidents’ Trophy-winning season with the Avalanche, the veteran forward heard from multiple teams interested in signing him.

Driving the bus: Bolts’ unique fourth line has found instant chemistry

TAMPA BAY, FL – “I don’t know what to call our line – maybe the ‘School Bus,’ because we’re all carrying each other.”

It was forward Pat Maroon who coined the nickname for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s fourth line, a group that has remained intact for nearly the entire 2021-22 season. The trio consists of Maroon and two players who signed with Tampa Bay in free agency last summer, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Corey Perry.

Smith, Cole and Bellemare Listed Among Top 10 Most Underrated Players of the 2021-22 NHL Season

Every team has a player or players that, despite having a strong season, do not get the recognition they deserve. These are the less talked about players whose play has helped their team have success this season. Here are the top-10 underrated players of the 2021-22 season.

10) Craig Smith, Boston Bruins

Craig Smith has been a welcome addition to the Boston Bruins’ lineup the last two seasons as he has helped provide solid bottom-six scoring for the team. He has 29 even-strength points this season in 62 games and has helped them outscore the opposition 41-34 when he has been on the ice. Most importantly, he has shown he can play up and down the lineup having success in 178 minutes playing on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

As for Smith’s analytics, they are amongst the best on the Bruins. He has a 55.40% Corsi at even strength along with a 57.77% shots for percentage and a 55.20% high danger chances for percentage. Lastly, he isn’t afraid to play physically, as he has 80 hits this season. The 32-year-old has been a force in 2021-22 and the Bruins’ third line of Trent Frederic, Charlie Coyle and himself should cause havoc for the opposition once the postseason begins.

9) Ian Cole, Carolina Hurricanes

Ian Cole is having one of the best seasons of his career for the Hurricanes this year. The 33-year-old defenceman has 18 points this season and is less than 30 minutes of even-strength time on ice from passing 1,000 minutes for the season. He is a versatile defenceman who has shown he can play not just with a rotating cast of partners, but also on both sides of the ice as the left-shot defenceman has played over 200 minutes on the right side.

This season, Cole has a 56.74% Corsi while the Hurricanes have outscored opponents 43 to 33 at even strength. Lastly, he has thrown 93 hits while blocking 86 shots. Carolina has a very deep team, and the two-time Stanley Cup winner is a big reason why their defensive group is one of the best in the entire NHL.

8) Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Tampa Bay Lightning

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare centers one of, if not the best fourth line in the NHL, playing alongside Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon. His work shorthanded has Tampa as a top-10 penalty-killing team in the league, and at even strength, the Lightning have only allowed 17 total goals in the 770 minutes of ice time he has played this season. He has become a premier shut-down center in the league and is one of its best defensive forwards this season.

While Bellemare is known for his defensive play, the Lightning have done well in the offensive zone with him on the ice as well. Tampa has scored 35 goals at even strength, with him collecting 16 even strength points on the season. Lastly, he has been one of their best faceoff men all season, recording a 51.4% win percentage. If the Lightning have eyes on capturing a third straight Stanley Cup, he will play a key role in the process.

Lightning sign forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to two-year contract

TAMPA BAY, FL – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year, one-way contract worth $1 million AAV, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

Bellemare, 36, skated in 53 games last season for the Colorado Avalanche, posting nine goals and 11 points to go along with 21 penalty minutes. The 6-foot, 198-pound forward tied his career best with nine goals last season. He finished the regular season scoring in back-to-back games for Colorado. Bellemare also appeared in 10 playoff games for the Avs in 2021, tallying three assists.

Bellemare, Larkin and Turris Nominated for King Clancy Memorial Trophy

NEW YORK, NY – The National Hockey League today announced the 31 team nominees for the 2020-21 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is presented “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

The nominees were selected by their respective NHL teams. The winner will be chosen by a committee of senior NHL executives led by Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. The selection committee will apply the following criteria in determining the finalists and winner:

* Clear and measurable positive impact on the community
* Investment of time and resources
* Commitment to a particular cause or community
* Commitment to the League’s community initiatives
* Creativity of programming
* Use of influence; engagement of others