There’s a scene in “Talladega Nights” where Will Ferrell’s character deeply insults someone, but feels like he can get away with it by saying “with all due respect.”
It was hard not to think of that moment when Jonathan Toews praised the Anaheim Ducks’ efforts just a little bit more than the Tampa Bay Lightning’s opposition at a Blackhawks fan convention.
“No disrespect to Tampa because I think they far exceeded our expectations for what they were able to do and how difficult they made things on us,” Toews said, according to the Associated Press.
Still, he said the Ducks series “stands out to me in the last number of years as far as the challenges.”
(Attention Los Angeles Kings fans: you might be able to really stretch the limits of context and get mad about this, too, if you’re really bored.)
One can nitpick certain aspects of Blackhawks – Ducks and Blackhawks – Lightning to praise one over the other. Every game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final was tight, while the Western showdown featured some high-scoring contests, especially when Chicago ran away with things at the end.
Still, it’s no secret that many believe that the West is still the best of the two conferences, possibly by a large margin.
It would be silly to make too much bulletin board material out of these comments, but maybe there is the sense that “Captain Serious” agrees about one conference standing head and shoulders above the other.
In an amusing bit of scheduling, the Blackhawks’ first games against those two opponents are consecutive contests at United Center, as they host the Lightning on Oct. 24 and the Ducks on Oct. 26. Maybe the 2015-16 versions of these teams will make a different sort of impression on Toews?