Forward Martin Hanzal was scratched in the opening game of the Olympic tournament for the Czech Republic against Sweden. At the time, it was believed he was sitting out because he was feeling under the weather, like teammate Radko Gudas was doing.
It turns out that’s not the case. Elliotte Friedman of CBC reports a Czech official said Hanzal had no injury and it was coach Alois Hadamczik’s decision to sit him.
Opting to sit Hanzal goes on a growing list of curious decisions made by the Czechs concerning the Olympic team.
It started with the choices made for the team when forwards Jiri Hudler and Radim Vrbata were not chosen to represent the country. Then, forward Martin Erat was selected over both of those players to replace Vladimir Sobotka who couldn’t play because of an injury.
Top that off with Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec not even dressing against Sweden and the fact that defenseman Michal Barinka is married to coach Hadamczik’s daughter and you’ve got quite the curious situation all around.
If the Czechs wind up out of the tournament early, there will be a lot of fingers being pointed around the room.
The Czechs next game is against Latvia on Friday at 3 a.m. ET.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.