The Capitals' season came to an end earlier than expected with their first-round loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The end of the season came even earlier for Michal Kempny and T.J. Oshie due to injuries, but the latest updates on their recovery is all positive, according to Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan.
Kempny tore his hamstring during a regular season game against the Tampa Bay Lightning when he was taken down to the ice by Lightning forward Cedric Paquette. He underwent surgery in April and was given a timetable of about four to six months which would put him in danger of missing training camp, the preseason and even perhaps the start of the regular season.
MacLellan said Thursday, however, that he expects Kempny ready for training camp.
“It's wait and see, but we're expecting him to be available for camp,” MacLellan said via conference call. “He's progressing well. I haven't got an update over the last week or so, but before that he's on target to play in training camp.”
Kempny’s absence in the playoffs forced the entire defense to reshuffle. It was not until Jonas Siegenthaler was bumped into the top pair in Game 5 of the series that the blue line found any sort of consistency at all. Kempny's presence at training camp will be important for the defense to get off on the right foot.
The prognosis is even better for Oshie who MacLellan says is already back to working out.
“I think he'll be ready for start of training camp,” MacLellan said. “Last I heard, he was healthy and working out at our practice rink and doing well. But yeah, he'll be ready for training camp for sure.”
A nasty hit to the back from Carolina forward Warren Foegele in Game 4 of their playoff series knocked Oshie awkwardly into the boards fracturing his clavicle. Oshie underwent a surgical procedure in April and was said to be out indefinitely.
The news was also good on the prospect front as MacLellan said 2018 first-round pick Alex Alexeyev had avoided major injury after a scary looking knee-on-knee collision ended his WHL season in March. The young defenseman had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher following the play.
Just three months later, however, MacLellan says Alexeyev will be healthy for Washington’s development camp that will be held from June 24-29.
“[Alexeyev’s] healthy,” MacLellan said. “I don't think it was as bad as initially expected. He'll be at development camp here and fully healthy.”
That is a major bullet dodged for the Caps as Alexeyev is widely considered one of the team’s top prospects. In its futures edition, The Hockey News ranked Alexeyev No. 2 among Caps’ prospects behind goalie Ilya Samsonov. A serious knee injury would have been a serious blow to the future of a potential star player.
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