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Habs to healthy scratch Diaz, Emelin vs. Pens

Jan 22, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT

raphaeldiaz Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens are shaking things up on defense — in a major way — for tonight’s game against Pittsburgh.

Alexei Emelin and Raphael “player 61” Diaz will be healthy scratches, the club announced on Wednesday. That will open the door for veteran Douglas Murray (who sat out Saturday’s 5-3 loss to Toronto) and recently-recalled Nathan Beaulieu to draw into the lineup.

Diaz will be a healthy scratch for the second game in a row, having sat out the Leafs loss after playing just 14:21 in a 5-4 OT win over Ottawa last week. The Swiss rearguard has been a pretty regular feature in the lineup this year, scoring 11 points in 46 games while averaging close to 19 minutes per night.

Emelin, who has also been a healthy scratch this season, had a rough game against Toronto over the weekend and finished with a minus-2 rating and just one hit.

This isn’t the first time Habs head coach Michel Therrien has parked one of his regulars this season in the hopes of sparking the team. He’s pulled similar moves with Daniel Briere, David Desharnais and Rene Bourque — not coincidentally, the Emelin/Diaz benchings come with Montreal having lost six of its last 10.

Update: Courtesy Sean Gentille of the Sporting News, here’s some insight into Therrien’s thoughts about his club’s defensive breakdowns…


  1. stcrowe - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Beaulieu and Tinordi should be in the lineup, getting NHL experience. Douglas Murray is one of the slowest skaters I have ever seen in the NHL.

    • joey4id - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      Hmm! I would agree with you if we were in the initial months of the season. But! Now that we are in the stretch it may be too late to give d rookies some ice time.

  2. runhigh24 - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Its not often Ray Shero loses a trade but sending 2 second rounders to San Jose to rent Douglas Murray for a playoff run was a mistake.

    • killerpgh - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      True, but some people think that Tyler Kennedy was supposed to be part of that deal and they couldn’t come to an final agreement at the time, but still had future plans to make TK a Shark. Then TK got traded to the Sharks at the draft for the 50th overall pick. The Sharks ended up with the Penguins 2nd round pick (58th) and I think the other 2nd round pick turned into a 3rd when he didn’t resign.

  3. joey4id - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    “player 61” Hmmm! Not sure but this could be a reference to how Paul McLean identified the Montreal player who made a suicide pass to Eller. ???

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