“This disgusts me in the biggest way,” former Flyers great Jeremy Roenick said after the game on NBC Sports Network. “You can see [Orlov’s] numbers. You know what was coming. It’s a race for the puck, and Bellemare forcefully pushes Orlov into the boards. … I’m telling you, this was as close as I have seen to somebody possibly breaking his neck. This is totally inexcusable. This is a lack of respect for a player’s safety, it’s a lack of respect for a player in general. And I hope — I hope — that the National Hockey League suspends him and keeps him out the rest of the playoffs. Because we cannot have this. I’ve said it time and time again. The lack of respect of guys hitting people from behind three feet from the boards, someone is gonna break their neck one day and then they’ll make changes. … Inexcusable.”
“We’re really lucky that we’re not talking about a severe injury to Orlov,” Keith Jones added. “It can’t happen. I don’t know how he’s not hurt more seriously. This is remarkable, and we’re all grateful for that. Bellemare, I’m sure, is grateful for it, but that is a dumb play on his part.”
Roenick then mentioned how Bellemare stood over Orlov in apparent distress after the hit.
“He realized what he did afterwards,” Roenick said. “But this is a chase for the puck from the blue line. You know the situation is coming. You can think about what is going to happen, the ramifications of what you’re about to do. And he still goes ahead and forcefully hits Orlov into the boards. It drives me crazy.”
“That’s a multiple-game suspension in my mind,” Jones said. “I’m not 100 percent sure how the league will come down on it, but I guarantee it’s going to be a lot of games.”
Coach Dave Hakstol, meanwhile, said Bellemare was not trying to hurt Orlov.
“For anybody who knows [Bellemare], that was not an intentional play,” he said. “That’s an unfortunate play.”