Blackhawks defenseman Michal Kempny has played in fits and starts during his first NHL season. Of late Kempny has been in the lineup more often than not, and said through a translator in a rare interview that while it hasn’t been “the most optimal situation” he is starting to feel more comfortable in the lineup.
“I’ve always been trying to do my best,” Kempny said. “I’m always trying to do what the coaches ask me to do and I’m obviously always trying to stay in the lineup.”
Kempny, who is still learning English, has two goals and six assists in 42 games so far this season. Throughout the last few weeks, Kempny’s frequent defensive partner has been Brent Seabrook and has been communicating as best he can with Seabrook.
“Obviously, English is still not ideal,” Kempny said. “But we can communicate whatever we need to tell to each other and I think it’s going better.”
When asked if Seabrook has learned any words in Kempny's native Czech language, Kempny laughed and said: "He doesn’t want to learn."
Kempny leads Hawks defensemen in one important statistic, 5-on-5 Cosi percentage, which is at 55.3 percent, according to naturalstattrick.com. That means the Hawks are generating more shot attempts when Kempny is on the ice at that rate than their opponents. That statistic doesn’t always tell the full story. Kempny has struggled at times in the defensive zone, especially around the net, a skill that can take time to develop.
Kempny is also trying to get a better feel for the Hawks’ system and said one his biggest areas of improvement has been deciding when to pinch in the offensive zone and when stay back.
“We’ve been working on it a lot with defense coach and I’m focusing on that a lot, trying to keep my position, don’t be all over the place and just keep stable,” Kempny said.
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