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When it comes to Christian Djoos, Barry Trotz says size can be overrated

When it comes to Christian Djoos, Barry Trotz says size can be overrated

You don’t have to watch Christian Djoos very long to realize he has the skill to be an NHL defenseman. You also don’t have to watch very long before you notice how much smaller he is than everyone else around him.

At 5-foot-11, 169 pounds, Djoos is the smallest player at Capitals training camp and by far the smallest defenseman. The second smallest defenseman is Lucas Johansen who weighs in at 175 pounds.

RELATED: DANIEL MURPHY SPENDS OFF DAY WITH SON AT CAPS PRACTICE

But size is what you make of it and in Barry Trotz’s mind, it’s not as important as one may think.

“Size is sometimes a little bit overrated,” Trotz told reporters after Monday’s morning skate. “If you've got hockey I.Q. and make quick decisions, I mean, Erik Karlsson may be the best defenseman in the league right now. He's not overly big but he's got a great skillset and he thinks the game extremely well. You don't have to be the biggest or the toughest or the fastest. If you can think the game really well, you're going to have a chance to be a real good player in this league.”

It should be noted that Karlsson stands at 6-feet, 191 pounds. That would make him smaller than nine of the 18 defensemen at Capitals training camp. He is certainly not the smallest defenseman out there, but not the biggest either. Trotz’s point was that Karlsson is not the best because of his size, but rather because of his skill and Djoos needs to show a lot of skill and hockey I.Q. to balance out his lack of size.

“[Djoos is] more of a cerebral player than he is a physical specimen," Trotz said. "That's how he's going to find a way to play. He's going to have to navigate that. He's going to have to be smarter than [someone who is] bigger. He has a great stick, he has [a] good mind for the game. I think he's going to be fine.”

But make no mistake, Monday’s preseason game is an important test. With size being the only question for Djoos, all eyes will be on him to see just how he is able to handle a Devils’ lineup that features more scoring talent than one may expect for a preseason game. Taylor Hall, Marcus Johansson, Kyle Palmieri and first-overall draft pick Nico Hischier will all be in the lineup for New Jersey. How Djoos plays this preseason is going to determine whether or not he stays in Washington or finds himself back in Hershey.

“We're not really going to make the decision,” Trotz said. “The players really make the decision. You start watching how they handle playing and how they handle situations. They sort of separate themselves. We just have to watch and they really do it for us.”

MORE CAPITALS: PRESEASON OPENER WILL FEATURE SEVERAL CAPS REGULARS

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Game 48: Capitals vs. Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 48: Capitals vs. Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 12:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Flyers will be broadcast on NBC

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Flyers game on NBC Sports' live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME?

The Capitals (28-15-4) take on the Flyers (22-16-8) Sunday, January 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Flyers game will be broadcast on NBC. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at  11:30 a.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 12:00 p.m. Check back with NBC Sports Washington for postgame coverage starting with Caps Extra following the game and Caps Overtime at 3:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

11:30 a.m. — Caps FaceOff
12:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
12:30 p.m. — Capitals vs. Flyers on NBC
3:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
3:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME?

The Capitals-Flyers game is available to stream live here through NBC Sports.  Caps GameTime and Caps Extra is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Flyers game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Chandler Stephenson - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly - Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

CAPITALS-FLYERS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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3 reasons the Caps lost to the Canadiens

3 reasons the Caps lost to the Canadiens

The Caps battled through the rust on Thursday to earn a point in New Jersey. On Friday, rust cost them yet again as they fell 3-2 to the Montreal Canadiens.

Here's why they lost.

4 shots on goal in the first period

Canadiens goalie Antti Niemi has had his struggles this season. Yes, he has played better since getting claimed off waivers by Montreal, but getting to play against Niemi instead of Carey Price wass a golden opportunity for the Caps to generate some offense. Washington, however, had very little offense to speak at the end of the night. How did they respond with Niemi in net? By getting only four shots in the first period. Four. They finished with 26 shots on goal for the game, but had they come out swinging in the first and put pressure up early on Niemi, they could have gotten a much different result.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FOR CAPS-HABS

Bad passing

After the game, Lars Eller said "It was one of the sloppiest games we've played if not the sloppiest. I don't think we've given up so any odd-man rushes or chances in one game." In no aspect were the Caps more sloppy than with their passing. Here are just a few examples.

A cross-ice backhand pass in the defensive zone? Really? You are not going to be successful trying to make those type of plays and it cost the Caps. They could not maintain possession of the puck or breakout of their zone and it led to several odd-man rushes for Montreal.

Rust

It's not an excuse. The Caps should have played better on Friday regardless, but there's no arguing the fact that rust was a factor. It was abundantly clear that the Caps were out of sync. That will happen when you are playing on the second leg of a back-to-back with no practice time.

Saturday's practice will be absolutely critical since Washington faces a matinee game on Sunday, their third contest in four days.