Author of assistance Thursday, during the victory of Colorado against San Jose (4-0), Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has just established a new personal best of points (17) whereas the mid-season has just been crossed. The consequence of long-term work for the 35-year-old striker.
He was spinning between twelve and sixteen points in four of his first five NHL seasons and seemed to promise similar numbers with the Colorado Avalanche where he arrived in the offseason. But Thursday evening, on the occasion of his team’s victory against the San Jose Sharks (4-0), French striker Pierre-Edouard Bellemare recorded his seventeenth point (a shorthanded assist) with 35 regular-season games to play. His trainer Jared Bednar admitted “a little surprised, yes” by the performance of Bellemare, who “has an attachment to small details, which puts a lot of pride and solidity in his game”. The interested party highlights the long-term work he has accomplished since joining the League in 2014.
“Are you surprised to beat your point record in a season so early?”
Yes and no. Yes, because I have made five seasons around the same number of points. So you do not imagine that the luck of the puck finds you so much. To settle in NHL, I had to forget my attacking side. But I still worked to be better offensively, to be where it can hurt the opponent. Work pays off at some point. I also evolve with more offensive players than before on my line, who put around twenty points per year so I find myself in situations different from previous seasons. I play with really good players and it is if I could not put as many points as it would be necessary to ask questions (smile).
Is it because the game system suits you better than the Colorado Avalanche?
No, it’s more the consequence of things that the staff told me, about the way they want me to play. There is a lot of individual work too, a mental part to tell you to go to the cage, to trust the players with whom you evolve. You can work intelligently or stupidly … I did it a little stupidly in the sense that I wanted to help my teammates by my placement. The consequence is that we let go of nothing in defence but that we created little in attack.
Now we create more goals but we take more too. In Colorado, there is also an individual coach who comes to see you after each game. If you want to hear it, it will tell you what it thinks of your match in great detail, until you say that on the action, instead of braking and then making such a curve that makes you lose speed, instead, you should try to stay on your angles … 82 matches, it still goes fairly quickly and you can find yourself, seeing that you earn money, to tell you that you have a beautiful life and lose the appetite to progress. If someone comes to you every time to tell you what you haven’t done well, it keeps you from feeling too satisfied.
“I know the truth behind the stats. It’s not all rosy ”
Can we say that Bellemare has gone on the attack?
Offensively, I have more points and my plus/minus (goal difference when a player is on the ice) is good but I have to do a lot of work defensively. My line, the number of goals we have left over the last 20 games … It’s been ten games where I let shitty goals come in but if it’s not necessarily me who made the mistake. This is the kind of thing people don’t want to see, but I know the truth behind the stats. It is not all rosy, there are gaps to work on.
You have had your best matches, including your first double in the NHL, against your old team, the Vegas Golden Knights …
It is really a coincidence even if I feel at home there. It’s a shame I just left (laughs). I don’t know why, in these matches, I find myself succeeding. It is a real coincidence but it is great. It was two incredible matches especially considering the reactions of everyone in Vegas, the supporters, the coaches, the players … This kind of meeting makes me want to progress every day. You leave a franchise, you make an incredible match which makes them lose and after the match, we congratulate you, we tell you that you deserve it, it means that you are doing something good.
Achieving your best NHL season at 34 (35 in March) is still surprising …
I am 35 years old and it is now that I begin to be a player that people know in the League. My luck, and perhaps my biggest talent, is that I always try to work on my shortcomings. I’m not an ass licker but he sees me working when there is no one there, sometimes he learns it, I don’t know how because there is really no one at the centre of training (laughs). So I just keep working every day.
In France, many people think that work will pay off as quickly as you do. But you have to be ready to work for a long time before it pays off. Along the way, you have to be satisfied with the small rewards to continue. It’s my way of thinking long term, maybe that’s why it took me so long to get to the NHL. But now, this is my 6th year in the League – when I would not have been given a year at the start – and my playing time increases and I have more and more points … So I continue to do my little job every day. And if it doesn’t pay, at worst, I’m in a franchise which tells me that she would work well with me after my playing career. ”
Source & image credits: lequipe