James van Riemsdyk couldn’t take his eyes off the flickering images on the screen.

It was the talent of Phil Kessel on full display, but it had nothing to do with the skilled Maple Leafs forward’s exploits this abbreviated 2012-13 season.

“It’s kind of a funny story,” van Riemsdyk said after practice on Friday at the MasterCard Centre.

“My first year in the U.S. (national team development) program with Ron Rolston in (2005-06), they showed us the highlight video of the team that was there the year before us, and that was Phil’s team. I remember watching this guy (and thinking) he is unbelievable.