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McKenzie: Playoffs are van Riemsdyk's coming out party

Bob McKenzie
5/3/2011 12:23:31 AM
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Some thoughts from the NHL on TSN on Monday night:

These playoffs are James van Riemsdyk's coming out party. He scored two goals on Monday night but it wasn't enough for the Philadelphia Flyers.

He had eight shots on goal and now leads the entire playoffs in shots on goal with 59. The next closest player is Daniel Sedin in the mid 30s. It's not even close.

He used his size, he used his speed, and he did get the two goals, but there was so many more opportunities for him. He's really blossoming in front of our eyes. He and Claude Giroux led the way in terms of minutes played for the Flyers - van Riemsdyk had the most.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette realized that he was the hot hand, and he was double-shifting him in the third period, trying to get that big breakthrough and the hat-trick goal. It didn't come, and it had to be a devastating loss for the Flyers. Tim Thomas stole it, and van Riemsdyk, despite his best efforts, couldn't get the third one.

I'm not going to sit here and suggest that van Riemsdyk is about to eclipse Patrick Kane because Kane is an unbelievable hockey player. But this is a player who was drafted right behind Kane, and for the longest time - when Kane got out of the gate like he did - everybody assumed the difference between Kane and the rest of the field was going to be enormous.

With van Riemsdyk, the numbers are sterling, his play is sterling, and he's really developing a power game for a guy that we wondered if he's going to have the competitive instincts to play that kind of game.

He's an American kid - everybody knows that - but he very easily could have been Canadian. His dad, Franz, emigrated from Holland and lived in Montreal for quite some time. It was when Franz moved from Montreal down to the Philadelphia/New Jersey area that he got married and had a kid - James - and decided to put him in hockey because of what he saw when he was in Montreal.

Bob McKenzie

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