While Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final remains a few hours away Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS), it's never too early for the Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand and the Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw to begin waging a personal war of words.
During media day here at United Center on Tuesday, both agitators and big fan favorites couldn't resist the opportunity to speak about the other when the questions came fast and furious.
"We're both agitators," Shaw said. "We both play physical and we're always chirping. He's perfected it and that's what I'm trying to do to my game. We both walk a fine line and I've always looked up to him and admired him. It's going to be great to actually play against him once."
Shaw has four goals, seven points, 26 penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating in 17 playoff games. Marchand has four goals, 13 points, 15 penalty minutes and a plus-7 rating in 16 games.
Shaw went as far as to say he actually admired Marchand, which makes you wonder whether he's going to hit him or shake his hand when the two ultimately meet in a corner at some point in this series.
"What a nice guy he is to say something like that," Marchand said with a grin. "We all look up to guys we can play like and we have a similar style. He's doing really good things and getting lots of recognition and he probably saw me doing the same type of thing."
Marchand has been doing more of the scoring between the two -- he's tied for third on his team with 13 points. Shaw (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) has been more prone to throwing his weight around -- he ranks third on his team with 47 hits. Marchand (5-9, 183) has 14 hits.
"I've always played that physical role and it's what got me here, so I know to keep doing what got you here," Shaw said. "I'm not a skilled guy. You don't see me making great passes or scoring a bunch of goals. I just work hard, go to the net as hard as I can and try to find one or two of those greasy goals."
Marchand was equally complementary of Shaw.
"We all need to find something we're good at coming into the League, and that was a way for me to break in and it's the same with him," Marchand said. "He's a good player. He's come in and he's playing hard. Watching games, he's all over the place and getting some big goals, so that might just be something he needs to do to get in the League. We want to be better players than we do a pest, but you have to find something to do coming into the League."