Defenseman Michal Kempny has not played an NHL regular season game since March 9, 2020.
Since then, the 31-year-old defenseman tore an Achilles tendon, suffered a freak knee injury due to a shovel accident, and was cut by the Capitals out of training camp.
“My mindset has been the same all the time,” Kempny told reporters after practice on Monday. “I’m trying to work every day and trying to work my way back. I’m not stressing out, it was what it was or it is what it is. Obviously, I didn’t expect to play in the AHL. I got sent down there and I gotta say that they have a really, really good group. The coaches, the trainers, it’s been really good down there and I really enjoyed the time down there. It really helped me a lot to build my confidence back up so we’ll see what’s gonna happen right now.”
In 24 games with the Bears this season, Kempny has seven points. He has played in 151 career games for the Caps, recording 46 points in those games.
The Capitals lines at practice project Kempny to return to the NHL lineup on Wednesday against the Nashville Predators barring a postponement. The defensive pairings were as follows via NBC Sports Washington’s JJ Regan:
Kempny lined up on the second defense pairing next to Trevor van Riemsdyk. TVR and Kempny were teammates with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2016-17 season and played over 65 minutes together at five-on-five that season.
“I played a lot every single night,” Kempny remarked about his time in the AHL. “That’s what I wanted to do, play a lot, be in those situations. Lot of PK, lot of four-on-four, three-on-three. It’s been really great down there. I started with Cody Franson and then they switched us and I played with Bobby Nardella. He’s a really talented kid. It’s really exciting to play with him.”
After making his way to the Capitals in 2018 via trade, Kempny would go on to be a pivotal piece in the team’s Stanley Cup Championship run. He’d sign a four-year, $10 million extension with the team immediately afterward. This is the final year of that extension.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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