The Capitals visited the White House on Monday in the traditional trip afforded to the Stanley Cup champions. Among the players in attendance was injured defenseman Michal Kempny. A picture from the Oval Office showed Kempny in the background with crutches.
President Trump with the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals pic.twitter.com/vQ33tYGfoD— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) March 25, 2019
This is the first we have publicly seen Kempny since he was injured in Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kempny was engaged with Lightning forward Cedric Paquette after the whistle. Kempny fell awkwardly on his left leg as Paquette forced him to the ice and had to be helped off the ice and down the tunnel. He did not appear to be putting any weight on his left leg at all on his way to the locker room.
There is still no definitive timetable for how long Kempny may be out, though Reirden said Monday after practice that, “It's going to be a long-term injury.”
The delay in getting a timetable is over treatment options. It is still being decided how best to treat Kempny’s injury and until that decision is made, there is no timetable to give. Reirden indicated surgery was a possibility.
“That's what we're going through right now: Different options and what the right thing to do is,” he said.
Both Reirden’s update and the fact that Kempny remains on crutches several days after the injury is a pretty good indication that this is not going to be a short-term issue. It appears the Caps should prepare for not having Kempny for at least the start of the playoffs, if not longer.
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With Bryce Harper no longer in town, his locker was open for a new tenant this season. Fans speculated on which veteran would take over his spot, and now we know.
It’s Howie Kendrick.
As every Nationals fan knows by now, after a long, arduous offseason, Harper took his talents to Philadelphia. The Phillies gave him a record-breaking contract, and Harper will be spending the next 13 years of his career in the City of Brotherly Love.
Down in Florida, it wasn’t clear who might take over his locker once the team returned to the nation’s capital. Now that the team is back for an exhibition game and Opening Day this week, media members can see the new locker layout.
Harper’s locker is empty for now because it’s marked for Kendrick, who is not here yet.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) March 25, 2019
Kendrick, of course, is still in Florida rehabbing his hamstring. He’ll begin the season on the Injured List and will play in extended spring training while working to get back to 100 percent. The team expects him to be ready to go sooner rather than later, and even though he’s injured, he’ll still come up to be with the team for Opening Day.
Kendrick makes sense as the choice to fill Harper’s vacated locker. As a veteran entering his 14th season in the Major Leagues, Kendrick is a well-respected voice in the Nationals locker room. He’s only been with the team since midway through 2017, but at 35, he has plenty of experience in the sport.
Entering 2019, Kendrick is set to be a valuable piece for the roster as a quality bench bat who can play multiple positions. Much of his value will also come in the form of his leadership and presence in the locker room, which will now resonate from the same place it had from Harper the previous several seasons.
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