May: Michal Kempny playing at 'incredibly high level' right now

Chris Lingebach
January 08, 2019 - 6:13 pm
May: Michal Kempny playing at 'incredibly high level'

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

As the Capitals turn the corner toward the back half of their season, they're getting a much needed scoring boost from Michal Kempny.

After a sluggish start to the season, brought on in part by a concussion suffered in the preseason, Kempny has been performing at an "incredibly high level" as of late, Alan May told The Junkies during The Morning Skate, presented by D.C. Lottery.

Kempny's Feb. 2018 acquisition from Chicago proved pivotal to the Caps' Stanley Cup run, May says, despite having to give up a third-round pick.

"You know, the big difference is he was a spare part in Chicago the entire time," said May. "They were going through a rebuild, he was kind of a band-aid as an older guy and they got rid of him simply because of his age. They have so many young players there in their system. They do a great job of drafting."

"I think what's really going on," May continued. "He didn't play that well. I wasn't too happy with him the first six-to-eight weeks of the season. I think the concussion got to him a little bit, maybe having to live up to the contract expectations." The Capitals re-signed Kempny to a four-year, $10 million contract in the offseason.

"I think at Christmas, someone got him a new batch of sticks for Christmas under the tree," May said. "He's been firing the puck a ton. He's been really helping this team keep some zone time. He's getting on the board more offensively. And his defensive play is back up where it needs to be, and I think that's a really important thing."

Kempny's registered 15 points on five goals and 10 assists – all career highs – through 38 games, and in the past seven games, since their Dec. 22 win at Ottawa, he's tallied five points (three goals, two assists).

"How well he plays without the puck," May said. "We always talk about goals and assists, but this team won the Stanley Cup last year because they played great team defense and he was a big part of that. With Brooks Orpik out, he was able to kill more penalties, and that'll help down the stretch when they get into the playoffs, having more players that are able to know what the right reads are on the penalty kill.

"This is just an incredible pick-up for the Capitals. Everyone in the league thought it was way too much to give up a third-rounder for... who? And they won the Stanley Cup. They don't win the Stanley Cup if this guy doesn't come in and be a great part of the puzzle."

Listen to the full interview here. Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter