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.