and rookies Christian Djoos | Forum

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"I think he recognized on his own, like good players do, the trends of the League. Players adapt, players throughout the League. The game is getting quicker Stan Mikita Authentic Jersey and you need to slim down. You see the [Los Angeles Kings] guys, Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, they did the same thing. He made a conscious decision to do that. "The other thing with him is we need him more this year. I think he responds better to that. He's our go-to guy. Last year, we had four lines and we rolled four lines and he didn't play as much, not as much as ice time. … This year, he's being relied on to carry the load, and I think he likes it better this way." "It's been impressive what he's done, especially with [Matt] Niskanen's injury (missed 13 games from Oct. 14 to Nov. 12). He's really stepped up for the team, taken on the extra minutes, played hard. He's gotten through it. He's put up great points. He's having a great year. Steve Larmer Authentic Jersey He's been here a long time, he's been a big part of the organization and, hopefully, he continues to be going forward." "He's done a good job. We were fragile coming in and it's not an easy thing to stabilize that. And I know the players had to go through what they had to go through, but to get to them to the point where they have the energy and the mental strength to compete again is a big deal. I think he's been a big part of it, the assistant coaches have been a big part of it, and the players themselves have done a good job." On his approach to the trade deadline: "I'm OK with the forwards. I'd like our defense to settle in, be a little more stable. I'm a little aware of if you bring a [veteran] in, then Djoos and Bowey Tanner Kero Authentic Jersey aren't playing as much. That's the balancing act of developing and winning. How you manage that is the key." On what changed after the first 20 games: "Probably getting over the disappointment of how we finished last year took a while, and the young guys were competing and lines were changing, pairings were changing, it wasn't stable. Then, somehow it slowly came together to something that worked better." On if the Capitals have exceeded his expectations: "I would have Tony Esposito Authentic Jersey said maybe in the second half we'd show more signs of trending up. I still think we need to get to a better spot. The Metropolitan Division is so tight that you're not going to sit here and say, 'Hey, we're in first place' Everybody's within reach of each other and there's a lot of good teams." On Djoos and Bowey: "They're trending up. Maybe there's some inconsistencies to their game, and I think [assistant] Todd [Reirden] has done a great job of bringing them along slowly, putting them in spots where they can excel and learn things and work with them after games when they haven't played well, and trying to pair them up and put them in good spots on the ice."