Kempny progressing, returns to practice
Five-day break gives defenseman added time to recover from injury
ARLINGTON, VA. — Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny returned to practice Saturday morning, skating with his teammates for the first time since suffering what was presumed to be a concussion during a preseason game in St. Louis.
While Kempny was the only Capitals player to wear a light blue noncontact uniform during the workout, his presence on the ice represented progress after nearly two weeks on the shelf. Capitals coach Todd Reirden said his goal is to have the 28-year-old Czech back for TV: Radio: Wednesday night’s home contest against Vegas.
“He is progressing. To have him back out there, he was in a noncontact jersey, but I thought he was skating really well . . . just getting closer to playing,” Reirden said. “We’ll continue to evaluate every day and we’ll see how he is later today and tomorrow and see where tomorrow’s practice goes from there.”
After opening with back-to-back games against Boston and Pittsburgh earlier this week, the Capitals are in the middle of a five-day break, a rarity this early in the season but also an opportunity to catch up with off-ice conditioning. The team held a heavy off-ice workout Saturday, “With the idea of strength building, not just maintaining strength,” Reirden said, followed by an hour-plus practice focused on motion and speed. Today will be a lighter off-ice workout with a more physical practice, Reirden added, leading up to a day off on Monday.
How limited Kempny is remains unclear, but the layoff will at least allow him to continue to ease back into his normal work rate. He was one of six defenseman to practice on Saturday - defenseman Brooks Orpik took a maintenance day and didn’t skate - and Reirden was immediately encouraged by how Kempny looked, improving the prospects of a return on Wednesday.
“I hope so,” Reirden said. “That would be the plan and I’m hoping we get to that spot.”
Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny suffered what appeared to be a concussion in Washington’s preseason finale.