Jeremy Lin to host hoops camp in China

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Jeremy Lin to host hoops camp in China

From Comcast SportsNet
BEIJING (AP) -- NBA star Jeremy Lin says he hopes to boost young players' enthusiasm for basketball at a four-day camp he plans to host this month in southern China. Lin said Thursday at a news conference in Beijing that he expected 80 kids to attend. His Asian heritage makes him a huge draw in the homeland of former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming. Lin says "I want every kid to leave the camp feeling like they had really fun time" and "they can't wait to go back home and continue to play." His visit to China is his first since emerging as an NBA star with the New York Knicks. He will move to Yao's former team next season on a three-year deal worth 25 million.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast - Say it ain't so!

Capitals Faceoff Podcast - Say it ain't so!

JJ Regan and Jill Sorenson react to Nate Schmidt getting claimed by Vegas and talk about what that means for the Caps' plans this offseason. Plus, Tarik El-Bashir calls in from Chicago to get his reaction from the team and talk about what their plan is for the upcoming entry draft.

Like what you hear? Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcastsAudioboom and Google Play and give us a good review! Maybe we'll even read it on the air. For the latest Caps coverage be sure to follow @CSNCapitals@TarikCSN and @JJReganCSN on Twitter.

More Capitals: NHL releases Capitals' 2017-18 regular season schedule

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Ross Mahoney: Recently re-signed Chritstian Djoos could compete for a spot on Caps

Ross Mahoney: Recently re-signed Chritstian Djoos could compete for a spot on Caps

CHICAGO—After spending the past two seasons honing his game in American Hockey League, Capitals prospect Christian Djoos could get the opportunity of a lifetime come September.

Djoos, who was re-signed on Thursday, is one of a handful of blue line prospects the Caps hope will compete for playing time in the NHL next season.

“His hockey IQ is extremely high,” assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said. “He has really good skill. He moves the puck really well. It was pretty evident by the points he put up this year in the American league.”

Djoos, a 22-year-old selected in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, did indeed put up big numbers playing for the Bears. In 66 games, he posted 13 goals and 58 points—the third highest total among AHL defensemen. The players who finished ahead of him—T.J. Brennan and Matt Taormina are longtime minor league vets.  

As impressive as Djoos' offensive production was, though, Mahoney and Co. are equally as intrigued by his ability to make smart decisions under pressure and quickly transition the puck from the backend.

“He’s really, really intelligent,” Mahoney said. “Sees the ice really well. Finds the open man. Can speed the game up, slow the game down.”

The one concern about Djoos—as it's always been—is his size and how it'll affect his ability to battle bigger NHL forwards in the corner and in front of the net. He’s listed at 6 feet, 164-pounds. For comparison’s sake, the lightest players on Washington's roster last season were backup goalie Philipp Grubauer (182 pounds) and wingers Justin Williams (188) and T.J. Oshie (189). The lightest defenseman was Taylor Chorney, who at 191-pounds was the only D under 200-pounds.

So, yeah, Djoos has some work to do in that department.  

“The challenge for him still is to get physically strong,” Mahoney said. “He’s getting there, so we’ll see after another good summer of training and see where he’s at come the fall.”

Depending on what happens in the free agent and trade markets, there figures to be an opportunity—or perhaps even two—waiting for a prospect like Djoos when the team convenes for training camp in mid-September.

After puck-moving defenseman Nate Schmidt was plucked by Las Vegas in the expansion draft on Wednesday night, the Caps were left with only four defensemen under contract (Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, John Carlson and Chorney) for next season. There’s also Dmitry Orlov, a restricted free agent the Caps intend to sign, but that still leaves a couple of openings.

Asked which blue line prospects are closest to being ready for NHL duty, Mahoney, in an interview with CSN on Thursday, named Djoos and his Hershey teammates Madison Bowey and Tyler Lewington.

“But,” Mahoney said, “it’s up to them to make sure they have a good summer of training, on and off the ice, and then come in and show the coaches that they deserve to be there.”

MORE CAPITALS: The Caps' 2017-2018 schedule