Kessel's hoping there'll be a reason to celebrate soon.

It’s kind of appropriate that while the U.S. Open is hitting its stride down in New York, North of the Border Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and his Toronto counterpart Brian Burke are staging their own verbal tennis match.

Over at, you can read all the gory details of today’s talking. But basically, Burke says he re-acquired the Leafs’ second-round pick in ’10 from Chicago in order to sweeten the pot for a trade for Phil Kessel. But at the same time, Burke pointed out that he’s not against offer sheets, he was just against the one Edmonton through at Dustin Penner because it “blindsided” him.

With those lobs coming over the net, Chiarelli fired back with his steady, overhead dose of the usual talking points about wanting to keep Kessel and matching an offer sheet should it be signed.

“What we have here in Phil Kessel is a player that is unsigned that we are trying to sign,” Chiarelli told Darren Dreger on AM640.  “Obviously in this business now with the (salary) cap there is the possibility of offer sheets. It’s something that we in the management group in Boston are fully aware of.  It’s part of the trade now.

“(Kessel) is a talented player, so of course there are interested teams.  It is something that I have to balance as a general manager.”

I’d say at this point the score is 5-all, deuce with a possible service break on the way in the form of Burke making a big splash. We’ll see how this all plays out.