CHICAGO -- Two of the finest centers in the game today are prepared to go head-to-head for the first time this season Wednesday at United Center when the Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron prepare to face-off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
Still, while the two Selke Trophy nominees are preparing to do battle on the ice, they certainly have a great deal of respect for each other off of it -- for how long remains to be seen.
"I know Patrice Bergeron on a personal level, played with him at the [2010 Winter] Olympics and watched him win a Stanley Cup," Toews said. "He's one of those guys who flies under the radar because he doesn't score as many points as he probably could be if he was just focusing on being an offensive player 100 percent of the time."
Bergeron has five goals, 11 points and a plus-4 rating in 16 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He's also first in the League this postseason with 210 faceoff wins for a 61-percent efficiency.
"He's great on draws, great defensively and scores big goals and makes big plays for his team," Toews continued. "There's nothing really he doesn't do. He's a leader and one of those guys you need to be aware of in key situations."
Toews has one goal, nine points and a plus-4 rating in 17 games. He is second with 190 faceoff wins for a 53.1-percent efficiency.
Bergeron was asked if he and Toews offer very similar games.
"We are our own players," Bergeron said. "He's a great player and tough to play against. He's a complete player that you want on your team. His two-way game is great and his compete level and skills are excellent. There are always tough battles against him, so you go out there and embrace that.
"He brings a lot to the table to help his team. It's beyond goals and assists, especially a player like him."