Get Up, Jake
Get Up, Jake, it’s late in the mornin’
The rain is pourin’ and we got work to do.
Get Up, Jake, there’s no need a-lyin’,
You tell me that you’re dyin’, but I know it’s not true.
That’s a little snippet from an underrated little song by one of the best Bands ever. And today, Jakub Klepis gets up and heads to Washington.
Jake has been up and Jake has been down this season, in so many ways. A terrific training camp opened some eyes and had some thinking he could be the second line center the Capitals needed once Nicklas Backstrom opted to stay in Sweden for another year. But he was unable to carry that success over the regular season. Klepis was in and out of the Washington lineup throughout the first half of the season, skating an average of 9:52 a night in 36 games, and totaling just two goals and eight points.
Klepis’ tenure in the District also featured an unfortunate propensity to take ill-timed penalties, particularly of the hooking variety. When last seen in a Washington uniform, this inclination reached almost comic proportions. In a Jan. 26 game at Carolina, Klepis was whistled for a goaltender interference call early in the second period. Just seven seconds after serving that sentence, he came out of the box and committed a hooking infraction in the neutral zone. Klepis spent the rest of the night on the bench and was headed to Hershey the very next day.
To his credit, the 22-year-old Czech native did not sulk. He went down to Hershey and he flourished with the Bears and head coach Bruce Boudreau. In 27 games with Hershey, Klepis totaled six goals and 27 points. He also racked up an astonishing plus-19 and committed just 14 minutes worth of penalties. Over the past two months, Klepis has routinely been among the best players on the ice for the best team in the American Hockey League, night in and night out. Playing on the wing, he has remade himself and has been playing with a lot of jam.
Now, with just half a dozen games remaining on the Caps’ slate, Washington has decided to get another quick look at the soon-to-be restricted free agent. Klepis was summoned to Washington this morning, and he is expected to skate the right side of a line with Alex Ovechkin and Jiri Novotny when the Pittsburgh Penguins come calling at Verizon Center tonight. Klepis’ return to the Caps’ lineup will give the faithful a little something interesting to watch the rest of the way. He is a very talented and skilled player, and is young enough that an awakening may yet be in his and the team’s future. Klepis will be headed back to Hershey in less than two weeks, and he figures to be a vital cog in that team’s drive for a second consecutive Calder Cup title. In the meantime, he’ll get a chance to open some eyes here in Washington, starting with his own.
Get up, Jake.