The Washington Capitals were once again one of the favorites in this year’s postseason fight for the Stanley Cup, but for the second straight season their playoff journey ended in the first round. Capitals’ defender Michal Kempný has since exited the bubble in Toronto and returned to his home in the Czech Republic. Kempny discussed the Capitals early exit in his first post-playoff interview with Nova Sport on Friday.
The Capitals took third place in the Eastern Conference round robin tournament that was played prior to the first round of this years playoffs. Unfortunately the team would manage just one more win before being eliminated by the New York Islanders in the opening round. The story was very similar to the season before when the Capitals were eliminated in the first round by the Carolina Hurricanes.
“There were more things that were wrong (this year). It’s not good to drop out with the team we have for two years in a row in the 1st round. The Islanders played great, they have a great defense. We had a hard time pushing,” Kempný said.
The native of Hodonín ruled out the possibility of a forced break for an early end in the playoffs, where the Capitals could only record one win.
“There is no reason for the break, because everyone has the same conditions. I wouldn’t look for a mistake in that.”
Kempný also described the feelings that prevailed with the team after the quick elimination.
“No one is happy with how we played. Two days after dropping out, the head coach was fired and it’s possible that further changes will come.”
Now that his team is out of the running for the Stanley Cup, who would he bet on for the winner?
“I think there are many favorites and it will be very interesting. Boston, Tampa and the Islanders definitely look good to me,” said the 2018 Stanley Cup winner.
Preparation during quarantine was not easy. Even so, the 29-year-old defender worked hard on himself.
“I was in Prague, I trained with a fitness trainer and we went skating with the boys in Letňany. I dare say that I was in good condition and well prepared,” he described his program while waiting for the competition to resume.
The season is over for Kempný and three other Czechs from the Washington team (Jakub Vrana, Radko Gudas and Vitek Vanecek). How does he intend to spend his free time after returning to Bohemia?
“I’ll play tennis with an agent and otherwise I plan to rest. I want to clear my head,” he concluded.
You can access the full interview here.