Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan spoke to the media at the team’s media day on Thursday to discuss contracts, injury updates, and center Evgeny Kuznetsov’s situation.
MacLellan told the media that the goal is to get defenseman Michal Kempny, who underwent hamstring surgery on April 2 and did not play after March 20 last season, back opening night. He said that Kempny won’t be on the ice to begin training camp and he may miss most of the team’s preseason games, if not all of them.
Defenseman Alexander Alexeyev, who suffered an upper-body injury during the team’s prospect tournament, is doubtful to skate tomorrow, MacLellan said. He made it clear that the team is being very cautious with the young blueliner.
MacLellan said that the Capitals are still waiting to see if Kuznetsov will get any discipline from the NHL after he was suspended by the IIHF for four years for failing a drug test. Kuznetsov will not talk to media until commissioner Gary Bettman makes a verdict. The two met earlier this week.
Regarding contract status, MacLellan said that talks with goaltender Braden Holtby have begun but discussions with center Nicklas Backstrom’s camp have not, but will soon. He said that the team is going to “play it out” with both of them. Backstrom and Holtby can each become unrestricted free agents on July 1 and sign contract extensions at any time from this point forward.
He said that captain Alex Ovechkin, who was involved in a bike accident over last weekend, will be fine to fully participate in the first day of on-ice workouts tomorrow.
By Harrison Brown