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Michal Kempny underwent surgery to repair torn hamstring, officially out for the playoffs

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Michal Kempny underwent surgery to repair torn hamstring, officially out for the playoffs

As the Capitals look to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, they will be without one of the key players that helped them win last season. Defenseman Michal Kempny underwent successful surgery to repair a torn left hamstring and is expected to miss four to six months, the team announced Tuesday.

Kempny suffered the injury on March 20 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He took issue with a hit delivered by Cedric Paquette and the two began sparring along the boards. Paquette grabbed Kempny and took him to the ice. Replay showed that Kempny fell awkwardly on top of his left leg. He had to be helped off the ice after the melee was broken up, putting no weight on his left leg.

Since then, head coach Todd Reirden had declined to give any firm timetable on when Kempny may return leading some to hope that perhaps he could be ready sometime during the postseason. Those hopes can now be officially put to rest.

A four-to-six-month timetable leaves training camp and the start of next season in doubt as six months from now will be the beginning of October when the 2019-20 season will be set to begin.

As for this season, Reirden will have to find the right combinations on defense to replace Kempny.

Prior to the injury, Kempny was playing on the top pairing with John Carlson, was averaging 19 minutes a night and was easily having the best NHL season of his career. Since then, we have seen several players cycle through to play with Carlson. It seems more likely at this point that we will see a platoon of players on the top pair rather than one set guy with Reirden replacing Carlson’s partner throughout the game depending on the game situation.

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Alex Ovechkin's son Sergei has an enormous first birthday bash

Alex Ovechkin's son Sergei has an enormous first birthday bash

Alex Ovechkin’s son Sergei turned one this week. And the celebration? According to Ovi’s wife’s Instagram, it was a success:

The caption translates to 'Happy birthday, our beloved boy! Grow healthy and the happiest!' 

In typical Ovechkin fashion, a simple celebration just won't suffice, so the Caps' star made sure to make it a day to remember.

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Capitals officially lose defensive prospect and draft steal Chase Priskie to the Carolina Hurricanes

Capitals officially lose defensive prospect and draft steal Chase Priskie to the Carolina Hurricanes

Former Capitals defensive prospect Chase Priskie has agreed to terms with Metropolitan Division rival Carolina Hurricanes, the team announced.

Priskie was a sixth-round draft pick of the Capitals in 2016. Despite being a late-round pick, Priskie developed into one of the top college defensemen in the country at Quinnipiac and was named one of the top 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award as the top college player in 2018-19.

"Chase was one of the best defensemen in college hockey last season," Carolina general manager Don Waddell said via a statement. "We believe he has a bright future in the NHL, and we're thrilled that he has chosen to come to Carolina."

The move is a blow for Washington. While the team has an abundance of left-shot defensemen, Priskie is a right-shot. Finding such a valuable player with a sixth-round draft pick was a coup for the Caps and its scouting staff...or at least would have been had the team been able to keep him.

“My dream is to play in the NHL and I feel like I've given myself every advantage to achieve that goal,” Priskie told NBC Sports Washington in March. “I think with the right motivation this summer, having a good summer, good training, I'm going to go into training camp and try to earn a roster spot.”

Priskie informed the Caps that he intended to become a free agent on Aug. 15.

Priskie joins a crowded blue line in Carolina as defense was certainly one of the team’s strengths last season. There is room in just about any NHL roster, however, for a right-shot puck-moving defenseman. If Priskie pans out the way he is expected to, he will be playing in the NHL, and against the Caps, sooner rather than later.

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