After three games in Sochi, Patrick Kane has some pretty high praises to sing of teammate Phil Kessel.
Elsewhere in Sochi, this two-time Stanley Cup Champion and 2010 Olympic gold medalist is thinking "say what now?"
Kessel, of course, has been one of, if not THE, best forwards in the Olympic men's hockey tournament so far. He sits atop the points leader board with seven (four goals, three assists), and recorded 15 shots while generating a total of 14 scoring chances in Team USA's first three games (as tabulated by theScore's Thomas Drance).
His quickness and lethal shot give him the ability to score every time he enters the opposition's zone, he's become exponentially more responsible in his own end. He's emerging as one of the very elite forwards in the world, and not just in the eyes of Patrick Kane.
"[Kessel's] always been a good player," defenseman Ryan Suter to Jonas Siegel of TSN.ca. "He's always been a goal scorer. He's always been quick, explosive. He's doing all the things that he should do. He has all the tools. He's putting them together."
Kane's praise is most significant because he has spent the bulk of the past seven seasons playing on the same NHL team as Jonathan Toews. The Chicago Blackhawks captain has established himself as one of the premiere forwards at both ends of the rink, while becoming the youngest person to enter the "triple-gold club" (World Championship, Stanley Cup, Olympic gold) and the second-youngest to win the Conn Smythe Trophy back in 2010.
Having said all that, if Kessel continues to play the way he has and if the U.S. leaves Sochi with a gold medal, it certainly would go a long way towards validating Kane's statement.