Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny will be re-evaluated on Friday for an upper body injury he suffered in the first period of Thursday’s 4-3 loss to Columbus in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Kempny appeared to take a shot to the head on a hit by Columbus defenseman Josh Anderson, who was assessed a boarding major and game misconduct and subsequently ejected. Kempny didn’t return to the game after the hit and could very well be in concussion protocol, although his condition remains unclear and the team doesn’t reveal injuries.
“Well, I looked at it. I’m going to let the league look at it. I thought there’s clearly numbers there,” Washington Coach Barry Trotz said afterward. “I’ll just put in the league’s hand, but we lost a player early in the game. It was the right call, for sure on the ice. I know the league will look at it. I mean, [the NHL is] trying to get that out of the game.”
Blue Jackets Coach John Tortorella didn’t comment on Anderson’s hit or the decision to eject him from the game.
The injury is a setback to what has been a promising run for Kempny since he was acquired in a late February trade to help shore up a defense that improved late in the season. The Capitals dealt the Blackhawks a third-round pick for Kempny, and the mobile, smooth-skating Czech played in 23 straight games for Washington, scoring two goals and one assist. Playing beside defenseman John Carlson in the defense’s top-four, Kempny was skating 16:45 per game.
Should Kempny not be able to play in Game 2 on Sunday, Trotz will turn to rookie Christian Djoos, who played in 63 games this season.
“He’s been the guy that’s been there,” Trotz said of Djoos.