VOORHEES, N.J. -- Among the seven Flyers who competed in the World Cup of Hockey, none played more games than Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – 14.
That’s 1/8 of an NHL season.
They were meaningful games, too, not NHL exhibitions, many of which are mind-boggling, boring and awful.
“My season already started,” said the Flyers’ centerman. “I felt like the way when you play in that tournament … you play against the best players every single shift.
“For me, we played a fourth-line role. It can’t be better. Those are the guys I have to play against to get ice time here.”
Bellemare and 38-year-old defenseman Mark Streit joined their Flyers teammates Tuesday at Skate Zone for the first time since returning from Toronto after Team Europe lost in the championship round to Team Canada.
All Flyers are now present as training camp concludes this weekend with a final exhibition game in Boston on Saturday night after a visit to New York to play the Rangers on Thursday.
Jakub Voracek said last week he felt in midseason form. Bellemare looks and feels beyond that given all the action he’s already seen.
“When you come back after a summer, sometimes you feel the preseason games aren’t enough to get you in season shape,” Bellemare said.
“But that tournament was not preseason. The level of competition was so hard. It was like February-March hockey.”
Bellemare, who is from France, was honored to be chosen ahead of fellow French player Antoine Roussel (Dallas Stars), who was left off Team Europe’s roster.
“I was surprised to make the roster, at first,” he said. “A guy like Roussel we didn’t take, who had a better season than me in the NHL. Other guys too. ... But all the same, I was proud to be part of it.”
So was Streit, who appeared in nine games overall.
“I felt it was tough at the beginning with two practices and then friendly games,” Streit said. “But during the tournament, I felt great. It was a different kind of preparation groove.”
Streit missed 19 games last season following pubic-plate displacement surgery. He said the long offseason and early work in the World Cup has been good for him.
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol plans to play both players in New York on Thursday.
Streit was paired with rookie Ivan Provorov in Tuesday's practice.
Bellemare could be on a line with fellow center Boyd Gordon, who is going to get ample penalty-kill time this season, something Bellemare specializes in. Or Gordon could have his own line, too.
“There’s a reasonable chance both could play center,” said Hakstol, who added that Bellemare “excelled” during World Cup play on Europe’s penalty-kill units.