Tonight the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights will meet for the first time since the Caps hoisted the Stanley Cup in the dessert to begin the greatest summer of our lives. It’s a rematch of the Stanley Cup and it is sure to be an exciting matchup! One big storyline going into tonight’s contest is this game will mark the return of Michal Kempny.
Kempny came on board in late February when the Caps were struggling and needed a defenseman. Since then he had found a home on the top pair with John Carlson. Kempny saw an uptick in his numbers and he made Carlson even better in the process.
Kempny enters his third season in the league. He spent his rookie year and last season in Chicago with the Blackhawks before he was traded to the Capitals for a third round pick.
Kempny suffered a concussion in the fourth Capitals preseason game in St. Louis after he was elbowed in the head by Blue defenseman Robert Bortuzzo. When Kempny talked to reporters on Sunday, he told Tom Gulitti of NHL.com that he didn’t remember the hit.
“I saw it on the video. I don’t remember the whole shift when it happened. I had a little bit of a blackout,” explained Kempny.
Kempny had a concussion for the first time in his young career and the Capitals limited his activities so he can have a full recovery. Although he missed playing on opening night, the Caps fans still gave him love when he came out to the ice in full uniform during the banner raising ceremony. The fortunate part of the Capitals early schedule was that Kempny only missed the first two games of the season as the Capitals take the ice tonight for their first game in six days. Kempny practiced on Saturday in a light blue non-contact jersey before switching to full contact and playing alongside Carlson since Sunday.
Bortuzzo served his punishment from the NHL Department of Player Safety which was a suspension for the final two preseason games and the first regular season game.
Welcome back, Kemps! A little reminder of the last time Kempny was on the ice playing at Capital One Arena.