Opposite directions in Chicago and D.C.

Updated: November 18, 2011, 10:18 AM ET
By Craig Custance

There's panic in Carolina and Washington and celebration in Pittsburgh and Chicago. That means plenty to discuss during the weekly mailbag, so let's dive in:

Who is the MVP of the Blackhawks thus far: Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews or Patrick Sharp? -- Dave, North Hollywood, Calif.

I had a brief conversation with Kane on Thursday evening and he said it's a great time to be a Chicago Blackhawk and mentioned the positive energy surrounding the team. "We had a couple rough games against St. Louis and Vancouver -- the last four we've won," Kane said. "Things are back on track." He's right. The power play is starting to click, they're healthy and playing with a confidence reminiscent of the Stanley Cup winning team.

That you're asking this question is a good indicator as to why the Blackhawks are winning. They're getting outstanding production from their stars. Kane and Hossa lead the team in points with 21 and they're a combined plus-26. My MVP pick would be Toews, though. He leads the team in goals, he's the captain and he's winning 61.1 percent of his faceoffs. If he keeps it up, he will be in the Hart Trophy mix this season.

Hey Craig, really enjoying your column every weekday and hoping you've got some insight into what's going on with the Caps. Will they ever remember how to play hockey? They're looking uglier and uglier every game. And what's up with Bruce Boudreau constantly shuffling the lines, defensive pairings and goalie? Seems to me that when he's messing with everything during each game, let alone from game to game, nobody is ever going to get in a rhythm. What gives?! -- Paul, D.C.

What do the Caps need to start doing to bounce back from losing four out of their last five? -- Chris J., Fairfax, Va.