To say former Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny had a challenging final two seasons in the District would be a major understatement. He dealt with significant injuries, being waived to Hershey, a bout of Covid and limited playing time with the Capitals. This all led a mountain of uncertainty for the Stanley Cup champion’s remaining time in DC.
Kempny has just begun to publicly discuss the end of his time Washington with media in his home country of Czechia. Last week he met with iDnes.cz and this week he spoke with iSport, shedding a little more light on his waning days in the District.
“I will not lie. The fact that they sent me to the farm (Hershey) right at the start of the season and placed me on the waiver list was a signal that they were not counting on me. And so it went on all season,” Kempny told iSport.
“I went back (to Capitals) over Christmas, it was just the way it was. I was not satisfied and neither was the other side. The communication between me and the coach was a little off. But I have a clear conscience. I did everything I could, but the coach believed in others. I was definitely not happy about it.”
Kempny feels he really didn’t have much of a connection with Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette. In defense of Laviolette, Kempny was somewhat of a moving target, spending a large chunk of time away from the team, recovering from injury and rehabbing in Hershey.
“At the exit meeting, alone, we sat at one table for about ten minutes. Otherwise, we didn’t talk much during those two years. But I know how it goes, how it is business. As they say: ‘It is what it is.’
Kempny knew his time in the District was drawing to a close. He sold his apartment and communicated with players before departing for the 2022 World Cup in Finland.
“We were texting with a few guys. I already knew at the end of the season, before I left for the World Cup, that I was done with the Capitals. I said goodbye to the boys after the season. I sold the apartment and drew a line behind it. I want to focus on the next chapter.”
Kempny reiterated his feelings for Washington in this week’s interview.
“I spent almost five years there, our son was born there. The memories will be positive, I experienced the most beautiful moments of my career there and got a chance to play. I appreciate that I could be in such an organization. But all beautiful things come to an end, I have already closed this chapter.”
It sounds like there may be a little bitterness, but that’s completely understandable. That will likely dissipate with time. It’s clear Kempny is glad to have another job in the NHL and looking forward to the new experience in Seattle with his family. He will will have the company of former Capitals teammates Philipp Grubauer, Justin Schultz and Andre Burakovsky to ease the transition.
By Jon Sorensen