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Chain Reactions: Washington Capitals Back in First Place In Southeast Division

The Capitals are back in first, George Mason finally loses, Georgetown isn't the same without Chris Wright and we begin the Mike Bibby for Wizards' MVP movement.

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Most eyes in the sports world were on the DMV this past week, and will continue to be here this week as the NFL owners and players try work towards labor peace. However, while the super rich were trying to get richer, some very significant things were going on with the local college and pro teams. This week's Chain Reactions deals with the Capitals, the CAA and the Wizards, and leaves the greed management to the owners and players. Go players!

Caps Back on Top of the Southeast

The Capitals made a big splash, bringing in center Jason Arnott and defenseman Dennis Wideman on deadline day. They are now in the midst of a four-game winning streak, their longest since a six-game run from Oct. 30 to Nov. 11. They worked overtime to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 Sunday and are now one point in front of Tampa Bay in first place in the Southeast Division heading into Monday's game.

During the stretch, Michael Neuvirth continues to be a rock between the pipes in games that have the slimmest of margins.  

"Sometimes it's good to play the close games," said Neuvirth, who is 6-2-0 in his past eight starts. "It's a little bit intense and I don't mind playing in intense games. We've won four in a row and it's a good start. I think we're getting something together here, and tomorrow's going to be another great challenge for us and we've got to be ready."

George Mason's Streak Comes to an End

As soon as George Mason lost to Virginia Commonwealth in the CAA Tournament semifinals, the critics came out with the typical questions. Who has George Mason really beat? Why are they a lock for field of 68? It's amazing.

@SethDavisHoops: Can someone please explain to me and @greganthony50 why George Mason is considered a lock? Best were ODU and Harvard, both at home.

No one was questioning Patriots credentials as they ran off the nation's longest winning streak, but one loss to VCU in their backyard in the third meeting of the season (George Mason won previous two) should not change everything. George Mason deserves to be in. The Patriots' RPI is very strong at 27, they are 8-4 against top 100, 2-1 against the top 50 and won 16 of their last 17. They were hands down the most consistent team in the CAA that is finally getting its due. However, this is the life of a mid-major in sport run by a bunch of big-conference elitists. 

Hoyas Just Not Wright Without Chris

The 17th-ranked Hoyas suffered their most lopsided loss of the season to Cincinnati 69-47. Georgetown has lost three in a row, all without Chris Wright, and will be the No. 8 seed at this week's Big East Tournament. The Hoyas will play at noon on Wednesday against the winner of DePaul and Connecticut. Since Wright has been out of the lineup the Hoyas have been struggling offensively. They have scored just 46, 51 and 47 points in the three-game losing streak without their point guard, who was the team's assist leader and second in scoring.

Maryland Needs a Miracle

Virginia came into College Park on Saturday and ruined Senior Day for the Terps, who inexcusably came out listless in the 74-60 defeat. There is no debate that the Terps chances for at an at-large bid had been lost a week ago, but the three-game losing skid to finish off the regular season has only made the situation more desperate heading into this week's ACC Tournament. The Terps are the No. 7 seed in the 12-team ACC and face No. 10 seed North Carolina State Thursday night at 7 p.m.

"I know no team has ever won four games down there since the expansion. At the same time, we are going down there to try to win the thing."

Maryland has won the ACC Tournament only three times in the tournaments 58 years, most recently in 2004.

Wizards End One Skid, Start Another. Oh, and Mike Bibby for Team MVP

It was a full weekend of work for the Wizards. First, they ended an ugly 7-game losing skid with a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Then, Sunday they started another losing skid, falling in Detroit. The Wizards are now 1-29 away from Verizon Center.  

However, the real story this week was the BIG assist from Mike Bibby, who accepted a significant buyout on his contract. No one can say for any certainty what the league's next CBA will look like, but thanks to Bibby, the Wizards will have more flexibility and will be perhaps as much as $20 million under the cap. It was suggested shortly after the buyout by fans on twitter that the Wizards have Mike Bibby Night next time he's in town. Count me in!