Leafs' JVR, Kessel looking good for Team USA

Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate Kessel's goal against the...

Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate Kessel's goal against the New York Islanders at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Tuesday November 19, 2013. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:49 PM ET

PITTSBURGH — Some 30 hours after he is having this conversation, Dan Bylsma doesn’t want to see, hear or have to deal with Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk.

Two months and change from now, the Pittsburgh Penguins coach may not be able to get enough of the potent Maple Leafs forwards.

Bylsma, of course, has another coach’s hat, that of Team USA for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. And in the minds of management and coaching staff, it is clear that van Riemsdyk has rocketed from an interesting prospect in the summer to a possible winger with Kessel.

Heading into the U.S. orientation camp in Washington in August, Kessel was seen as a shoo-in to skate on the top two U.S. lines and on the power-play. Van Riemsdyk, however, was much more of a mystery.


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