Alex Semin, NHL’s scapegoat, scratched by Canadiens

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MONTREAL, QC - OCTOBER 20: Alexander Semin #13 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates his second period goal and his first as a Canadien with teammate Alexei Emelin #74 during the NHL game against the St. Louis Blues at the Bell Centre on October 20, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - OCTOBER 20: Alexander Semin #13 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates his second period goal and his first as a Canadien with teammate Alexei Emelin #74 during the NHL game against the St. Louis Blues at the Bell Centre on October 20, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Alex Semin is expected to be a healthy scratch for the Montreal Canadiens against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night, continuing the years-long tradition of Alex Semin seemingly playing well in the eyes of some and being an obvious candidate for benching for others.

Semin has a goal and three assists in 10 games this season for the Canadiens, who are 9-1-0. He’s averaged 13:43 of ice time, skating on the team’s second line. That ice time includes an average of 2:42 per game on the power play.

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On the pro-benching front: Only David Desharnais has been on the ice for more goals at even strength than Semin. He has 14 shots on goal in 10 games, and 108 shot attempts, according to War On Ice – sixth out of the team’s top six forwards. The un-exact science of NHL stats gives him six giveaways, most among Canadiens forwards.

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But as was the case in his stops with the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes, there’s a case to be made that Semin is far from being problematic for his team. His 5v5 Corsi is 53.85-percent, which as Marc Dumont shows makes him hardly the worst forward on Montreal:

The eye test with Semin … well, it’s like a magic eye test. Some people see an ineffective invisible forward that doesn’t backcheck. Others see an effective forward even when he’s not scoring.

Anyway, Michel Therrien makes an example of the Russian player. Who had October 29th in the pool?

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