Sidney Crosby is still the best hockey player in the world.
That's not by any means an outrageous statement and it's one that not too many would disagree with, at all.
As Crosby and his Pittsburgh Penguins prepare for Game 7 against the New York Rangers in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, there is one thing about the Pens' captain, though, that is considerably less definitive.
When it comes to crunch time, is Sidney Crosby still the first player you would turn to?
To the northwest of Pittsburgh, in St. Paul, Minnesota to be exact, there is another captain playing tonight in a game that could see his team advance to the conference final, just as Sidney Crosby's Penguins can.
In Game 6 of their Western Conference second-round series, the Chicago Blackhawks - led by Jonathan Toews - can advance to a second-straight Western Conference Final by defeating the Minnesota Wild as they continue their defence of the Stanley Cup.
As a two-time Stanley Cup winner and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has Toews taken over the mantle as hockey's preeminent go-to guy?
The suggestion that Crosby wouldn't be the first player you would turn to in the clutch is by no means a referendum on his status as the game's best. It isn't and the Hart Trophy he's likely going to win next month at the NHL Awards (to go along with the one he earned in 2007), confirming his status as the NHL's MVP cements that. Crosby is hockey's best all-around player and has been for some time. Still, the Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native has recently disappeared when the chips are down.
Going into tonight's game, Crosby has just one goal in his past 17 playoff games (of course, Rick Nash is enduring that exact same streak of futility, but that's another discussion altogether) and the indelible image of Crosby in these playoffs, thus far, was his Game 6 spear of Dominic Moore.
Conversely, Toews could be looking at another Conn Smythe Trophy if he can help lead the Blackhawks to a third Stanley Cup in five seasons. While Crosby languishes with a solitary marker in this year's playoffs, Toews has five in 11 games - with four of them game-winning goals. That's now 10 game-winning goals in his career, most in his team's history. Sure, that's a long way's away from Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull's joint record of 24 career game-winning goals in the playoffs, but it's four more than Crosby's tally in eight fewer career playoff games.
Perhaps, even more telling about Toews's current status of big game-breaker is that Crosby, upon being informed that he was being named Canada's captain for Sochi, reportedly wanted Toews's blessing before accepting the 'C.'
So who would you rather have in an elimination/advancement game like tonight:
Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews?
As always, it's Your Call.