Who's your most valuable Blackhawk?
It's a simple question, really.
And, yeah, we know the Blackhawks are only halfway to where they want to be, but if you had to pick a playoff MVP right now, who would it be?
Is it a cut-and-dried, no-questions-asked vote for goalie Corey Crawford?
How about Jonathan Toews and/or Patrick Kane, who have combined for 7 of the team's 8 game-winning goals.
What about Mr. Postseason, Bryan Bickell, who is among the league leaders in goals and hits.
How about Marian Hossa, who is quietly tied for the team lead in points while also playing a brilliant all-around game?
It's hard to ignore Brent Seabrook, who despite sitting three games due to a suspension, still is tied for the team lead in points. Or Duncan Keith, who was a beast in the St. Louis series. Or even shot-blocker extraordinaire Niklas Hjalmarsson.
But because of space constraints, we'll limit this to five candidates:
The numbers: 8-4, 9.31 save percentage, 1.97 GAA
The case: Crawford, who's among the league leaders in all the major goaltender categories, stopped 34 of 35 shots Tuesday to lead the Hawks past the Wild and into the conference finals. Since losing the first two games against St. Louis -- and taking much of the blame for them -- Crawford, who is tied with Henrik Lundqvist with 8 playoff victories, has been a rock between the pipes.
The numbers: 5 goals, 5 assist, 10 points
The case: The captain certainly has been leading by example this postseason. His game-winner in Game 5 against the Wild was his fourth game-winning goal of the playoffs. He paces the franchise with 10 career playoff GWG, none prettier thus far than his OT goal in Game 5 in St. Louis.
The numbers: 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points
The case: No surprise that it was Kane who provided the heroics Tuesday with his overtime game-winner for the series clincher against Minnesota. That's just what he does. It was his second overtime GWG of the postseason and his fourth career postseason overtime GWG. He and Toews have combined for 6 GWGs in potential series-clinching games since 2009.
The numbers: 6 goals, 3 assists, 9 points
The case: The man who came alive last year in the playoffs is doing it again this postseason. When he's parked in front of the net good things seem to follow for Bickell. And when he has some space on the ice, that wicked wrister of his can be a nightmare for goalies. Add in some physical play and you've got a lethal combination.
The numbers: 2 goals, 9 assists, 11 points
The case: The ageless Hossa is quietly tied with Brent Seabrook for the team lead in assists (9) and points (11). But while he's getting it done on offense, just watching Hossa without the puck is almost worth the price of admission. The guy is always in the right place and doing the right thing on the ice.