On Friday, Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny spoke to the media following the second day of the 2021-22 training camp at Medstar Capitals Iceplex. He discussed feeling good after a busy summer of rehab on his left leg in hopes of returning to the ice this season.
Kempny said he feels great and he’s pleased to participate “at the start of training camp” saying, “To be able to compete with the guys…it just means a lot to me. I’ve been through a lot the last couple years, so I’m glad to be here right now.”
The 31-year-old explained that he “was ready to play” for the postseason series against the Boston Bruins but after dealing with a second-grade MCL sprain during a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Hershey Bears in early May, he felt it was best to “give up the season” and “focus for the next one.”
“In that moment, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry,” he said about the accident, “It was bad luck. I mean, I believe that everything bad is behind me and I’m just trying to focus on what’s now and enjoying every day here.”
Kempny said his leg “wasn’t in the right balance” following two major surgeries after tearing his hamstring in 2019 and breaking his Achilles tendon last year. “I’ve worked really hard this offseason to get my left leg right and balanced…to be able to compete at the highest level,” he said.
“I’m moving nice, pain-free…I said that to my coach back home that I just want to be pain-free…to be able to skate without any pain, which is happening right now. I feel good on the ice and that’s really important to me.” He expressed his appreciation and gratitude towards the trainers and everyone around him for all of the support.
Kempny noted his anticipation for playing in some preseason games, which begin this Sunday against the Bruins (5 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally, NHL Network nationally). He said he misses “the NHL process” of “being with guys in the locker room” and “having fun on the ice.” “I’m going to give my everything,” Kempny said on potentially returning to the lineup. He’s not keyed in on drawing back into the top four, but “focusing on my game and myself.”
During the summer, he worked with a new coach twice a day every day on “simple exercises to get my left leg back in balance.” “We worked really hard…we just really focused to come back here [Washington] to be healthy, pain-free, and ready to go.”
By Della Young