AP NEWS

Michal Kempny out indefinitely with lower-body injury

March 22, 2019

Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny will miss an indefinite amount of time with the lower-body injury he suffered this week, coach Todd Reirden said Friday.

Kempny was injured in Wednesday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning during a second-period fight with Cedric Paquette. After Paquette and Kempny traded blows, Kempny’s leg bent awkwardly and Paquette rained down several more punches on him while he was on the ground. Kempny needed the help of Capitals trainers to limp to the dressing room.

Reirden wouldn’t say whether there was a possibility Kempny could miss the rest of the season.

“We’re just getting some more tests before we can make an official time statement on that,” Reirden said. “I would just say for now, indefinitely he’s out of our lineup.”

Washington did not recall any defensemen from the AHL Hershey Bears on Friday and will dress their remaining six defensemen for Friday’s home game against the Minnesota Wild.

Christian Djoos skated in Kempny’s spot on the top pairing with John Carlson at Friday’s morning skate. Djoos was a healthy scratch for 11 of the last 12 games as Washington’s seventh defenseman.

The other pairings, Dmitry Orlov-Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik-Nick Jensen, remained intact.

Carlson said Djoos “adds different dimensions of the game” than Kempny does.

“Fortunately for me I think Djoos, he could be the smartest hockey player in this room altogether. That’s everyone,” Carlson said. “We’ve had stints. When Nisky went down beginning, middle of last year, we played a lot together. Always kind of sneak in shifts here and there with him this year. I feel comfortable with him.”

The Capitals acquired Kempny before last season’s trade deadline from the Chicago Blackhawks, and soon the blueliner became a regular in Washington’s top four defensemen. In 71 games this year, he led the team in plus/minus with a plus-24 rating and tallied six goals and 19 assists.