Whicker: Kempe, Kings don’t see the need to wait
By Mark Whicker
EL SEGUNDO — The Kempe brothers talk every night and after every game. Their parents, back in Sweden, rise well before the sun to watch them both.
“They get up when it’s almost morning,” Adrian Kempe said Monday, after Kings’ practice. “My brother has been chasing his dream for a long time now. He had good years in Sweden and Russia. But he never gave up his dream of playing here, even at 29, and it’s awesome.”
Mario Kempe made the Arizona Coyotes this year, after a journey that began with the St. John’s Fog Devils of the Quebec junior league.
Adrian is 21. He usually beats the schedule.
When he was 14, he played on an Under-18 team in his Swedish hometown of Kramfors. At 16, he played on the U-20 team of Modo, one of the Swedish League’s proudest franchises.
At 17, he played on Modo’s varsity, and at 18 he showed up in Manchester, N.H. for the American Hockey League playoffs and helped the Kings’ affiliate win the Calder Cup there.
Now he’s 21, playing second-line center for the Kings until Jeff Carter comes back. The Kings are 10-2-2, going into Tuesday’s Freeway Faceoff, Part One, in Anaheim.
Kempe has 10 points and is plus-10, tops among NHL rookies.
Who says you can’t feel forever young?
“I had a good summer back home, put a lot of work in because I knew I’d get a chance this year,” Kemppe said. “Then I got a chance to play on that line and I just tried to open up some space for them. I figured they were going to score.’
Kempe walked into the middle of That 70s Line, with Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson on either side. He wears No. 9 but the show comes out the same. Toffoli has seven goals and Pearson two, and […]