GDB LV: Against the high-flying Flyers

Jason Gregor
February 03 2010 02:31PM

Fresh off their first win in 32 days, the Oilers will be hard-pressed to win two in a row with the surging Philadelphia Flyers in town tonight.

The Flyers are 13-5-1 in their last 19. They’ve scored 68 goals and given up 46 in this stretch, but according to Scott Hartnell they are really starting to execute Peter Laviolette’s system.

“We only gave up 18 shots in Calgary, and I don’t think they had one good scoring chance. We’ve played solid hockey for a month and a half. Guys are more accountable and the coaches have made it very clear what they expect from us.”

The Flyers started great going 12-5-1, then went 3-13-1 before this hot streak, and it is clear that special teams and discipline have been the biggest difference since Laviolette was brought on.

In the first 17 games they outshot the opposition 13 times, tied one and were out shot three times. In the next 17 games they had more shots 12 times, tied one and were out shot four times. In this last 19 game stretch, they had more shots eleven times, tied twice and were outshot six times.

Their PK and PP numbers were a clear indication of their record however.

  • First 18 games they were 27.6% on the PP and 81.8% on the PK.
  • Next 17 they were 13.8% on the PP and a woeful 74.4% on the PK.
  • And in the past 19 they are 27.1% on the PP and 86.3% on the PK.

The biggest difference is they took 66 penalties in the last 19 games compared to 86 in the previous 17 games. Laviolette wasn’t a miracle worker though. He was only 2-7-1 in his first ten games behind the bench, but he admitted he needed to adjust the style of play of his team and it couldn’t happen instantly.

“I think as a coach you have a thought on how the game should be played, and that doesn’t make it right or make it wrong. It’s an identity you want to create for your team. It’s not so much what was going on here (before him), it’s just my thoughts and believes on how the game should be played. They had to buy into that, and now we are seeing success and they deserve the credit.”

Laviolette might not take the credit many of his players admitted the coaching change changed the room. It forced them to realize they needed to play better, but also Laviolette has implemented more skating, puck pressure and puck pursuit. ‘I think you have to be good defensively, but we needed to play less of it (defence),” said Laviolette.

How refreshing to hear a coach talk about needing to play more offence rather than constantly hearing how they need to be better defensively. He has an advantage because he might have the most talented top-six forwards in the league, but credit Laviolette for coaching to their strengths.

Maroon doubles

Steve Staios joined Ladislav Smid donning the “no hit” maroon jersey at the morning skate. Staios, Smid along with Fernando Pisani and Robert Nilsson stayed after the optional skate and spent time doing one-on-one drills and were then put through an up tempo skate.

Smid said he felt great and is hoping to play as early as tomorrow in Minnesota. Staios was pretty excited about good he felt after his first real skate in three weeks. “My conditioning was better than I thought it would be. I will need a few more skates before I play, but I feel great and I want to make it clear that this concussion wasn’t related to the first one. I didn’t have any lingering effects when I got hit this time. I’ve felt good for days and I understand why they were cautious this time, but I feel strong and I can’t wait to play again.”

Staios also addressed the possibility of a trade.

“It seems veteran defencemen are usually moved at this time of the season. I really haven’t thought about it, but I’m aware of what has happened in the past. It isn’t my focus right now. I’m concerned about today and getting back on the ice and playing.”

Staios’ $2.7 million cap hit, will make him harder to trade than Ethan Moreau, but he does have value, and if he can get back and play at least five or six games before the deadline Steve Tambellini will probably get some feelers.

It was an optional skate and they were more D-men on the ice than forwards. Smid, Staios, Jason Strudwick, Alex Plante, Taylor Chorney, Denis Grebeshkov and Tom Gilbert skated, while the only forwards who will dress tonight took part. Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Zack Stortini and Ryan Potulny did a few drills, but none of them were on the ice very long.

The Flyers also had an optional skate with about 13 guys on the ice.

Jeff Deslauriers will start again tonight.

Changing the angles to score

Gagner is once again having a better second-half, but he still doesn’t have an answer as to why. I mentioned to him that it looks like he is more comfortable as a goal-scorer right now than he has been in previous years. He agreed and credited Pavel Datsyuk and some changes in his angles to his recent goal production.

“It’s not a matter of I’m looking up and I’m seeing a hole and I’m shooting it there, because the goalies are so good they tend to take those away. It’s just a matter of trying to changes lanes; shoot the puck hard and accurate.

“It’s a matter of using deception in your shot: Bringing the puck from the middle of your body to the outside, or using D’s as a screen and pulling the puck into your body and shooting. You look at guys like Datsyuk, he’s so incredible at it. He changes lanes on goalies so well and knows when to use screens and he is always giving different looks to the goalies.

“It’s a learning process, where I’m learning from a bunch of different guys on how to create offence and how to get better. I feel like I’m improving and it’s a good feeling knowing that if you put in the time you’re going to get rewarded for it. It’s still a learning process but I’m feeling better every year and I feel like I’m a better goal scorer this year.”

Gagner is rink rat. He stays late after practice playing different games with Robert Nilsson, Andrew Cogliano and others, and other days he works on specific elements of his game. He does look more comfortable as a goal scorer right now, and if he continues to work on his game he might become the 1st line centre this team desperately needs.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 08:04PM
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BAHAHAHA Thanks McGuire.

"That was sort of a medium-high stick. Comrie's not that tall."

Edit: Ferraro

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#102 Cool Beans
February 03 2010, 08:04PM
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Deslauiers looks a little more confident tonight

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#103 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 08:04PM
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"Medium high stick, Mike Comries not that tall"

Hahahaha I love Ray Ferraro!

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#104 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 08:06PM
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Its Ferraro and not McGuire tonight thank god.

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#105 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 08:07PM
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I think the only way I move up in my office pool tonight is if Stortini fights Carcillo too.

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#106 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 08:07PM
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And that's EXACTLY why the Oilers took Pouliot over Richards. Can't even score on an empty net. Psssshhhhhh.

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#107 Wanye
February 03 2010, 08:08PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Its Ferraro and not McGuire tonight thank god.

No child of mine thanks god for Pierre McGuire!

*considers a smack for the child*

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#108 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 08:09PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Its Ferraro and not McGuire tonight thank god.

At least it's not Mean Gene.

"Mike Comrie continues to contribute as he serves up a high sticking penalty... in short order. Back to you Louie and Kevin."

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#109 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 08:11PM
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Wanye wrote:

No child of mine thanks god for Pierre McGuire!

*considers a smack for the child*

I meant thank god for no McGuire..

I'm sorry Papa :(

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#110 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 08:12PM
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Do my eyes deceive me? Did Deslauriers just play the puck effectively?

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#111 David S
February 03 2010, 08:15PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Do my eyes deceive me? Did Deslauriers just play the puck effectively?

Hey, the Oilers won a couple of days ago. Sh!t happens.

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#112 Wanye
February 03 2010, 08:17PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

I meant thank god for no McGuire..

I'm sorry Papa :(

My poor baby!

*bursts into tears and protectively gathers child against 19th century hoopskirts*

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#113 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 08:18PM
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LOOK AT THE CRATERS ON PLANTE'S FOREHEAD! He looks like the surface of the moon!

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#114 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 08:20PM
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OH GOD IT'S MCGUIRE!!!

*Hides behind Wanye*

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#115 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 08:23PM
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Michael Peca does not change facial expressions.

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#116 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 08:27PM
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Wow, Dutch looks like he should be eying his pocketwatch, yelling "All ABOOOOOOOOOOOOOOARD".

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#117 Pajamah
February 03 2010, 08:29PM
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Kerrolina can do us a double favor tonight.

God the Flames are pathetic, can only beat the Oilers

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#118 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 08:39PM
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Lubo is a beast

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#119 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 08:41PM
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Well the Oil aren't doing as well here has they were in the first, but they're not getting dominated.

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#120 Heavyd
February 03 2010, 08:41PM
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@Wanyes bastard child

When I first read that I thought you wrote lube is a beast. lol.

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#121 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 08:42PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Well the Oil aren't doing as well here has they were in the first, but they're not getting dominated.

Baby steps. If this kind of progress keeps up the Oilers may win over 20 games in a season by 2015!

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#122 Cool Beans
February 03 2010, 08:47PM
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Horcoff and Moreau couldn't hit the bucket thats why they don't pick up pucks. Joey was tired of fixing the mess they made. *True story

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#123 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 08:48PM
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"Powe" goes the dynamite?

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#124 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 08:48PM
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I can't even cry tears of sadness anymore. God I hope Lubo is alright.

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#125 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 08:48PM
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Oh Noes :(

Be ok Lubo, be ok!

Please!

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#126 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 08:56PM
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JDD IS THE GREATEST GOALIE OF ALL TIME!!!11!!!

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#127 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 08:58PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

JDD IS THE GREATEST GOALIE OF ALL TIME!!!11!!!

I would have his children, if my uterus wasn't a barren wasteland.

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#128 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 08:59PM
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@Eric Johnson

Me too!

I mean, until he lets in a goal. Then he's back to being crappy.

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#129 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 09:03PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Me too!

I mean, until he lets in a goal. Then he's back to being crappy.

Oh hell yeah, kick him to the curb without bus fare like the five hole sucking bastard he is.... if he lets in a goal that is.

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#130 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 09:05PM
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Doth my eyes deceive me? An Oilers defensive prospect who can actually play defense???

I'm liking this Plante more and more by the minute.

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#131 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 09:06PM
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Wow I don't think I have ever seen some many back up goaltenders in my life.... are we that team?

***checks oiler record at the top of the page***

oh... never mind.

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#132 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 09:07PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Doth my eyes deceive me? An Oilers defensive prospect who can actually play defense???

I'm liking this Plante more and more by the minute.

I want to have his children, if my uterus wasn't.... wait... total deja vu goin on.

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#133 David S
February 03 2010, 09:08PM
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0-0 after two. I'll take it.

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#134 Clangger
February 03 2010, 09:12PM
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2 decent periods,, 3rd periods scare me. too many self destructing 3rds for the Oil

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#135 Harlie
February 03 2010, 09:14PM
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Plante's a gamer. I like that guy.

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#136 Gunner
February 03 2010, 09:15PM
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Anyone see the OHL allstar game? They asked Hall's father about his son going first overall. He responded by saying something along the lines of its exciting but he wishes some other teams would lose some more games. of course I'm paraphrasing but, ouch.

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#137 Wanye
February 03 2010, 09:15PM
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IMAGINE THE OIL WON???

*faints*

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#138 Colin
February 03 2010, 09:16PM
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Come on Oilers, hurry and fall to pieces before it's too late!!

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#139 Cool Beans
February 03 2010, 09:18PM
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What happened to Mac T on the TSN panel?

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#140 Jamie B.
February 03 2010, 09:18PM
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What on God's green earth is Mcguire effing babbling about? Gagner hasn't played wing all season. I know ... expecting logic from him is like expecting a smart defensive play from Grebeshkov ... I still want to break my TV when he opens his mouth.

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#141 Reagan
February 03 2010, 09:22PM
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He previously played the wing. But McQuire is a wiener. Pronger was hillarious when asked about the Boo's. I even had a chuckle.

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#142 Wanye
February 03 2010, 09:23PM
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Jamie B. wrote:

What on God's green earth is Mcguire effing babbling about? Gagner hasn't played wing all season. I know ... expecting logic from him is like expecting a smart defensive play from Grebeshkov ... I still want to break my TV when he opens his mouth.

Yeah, screw Grebs that goat. Good call!

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#143 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 03 2010, 09:24PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Doth my eyes deceive me? An Oilers defensive prospect who can actually play defense???

I'm liking this Plante more and more by the minute.

~lay off the sauce. ~

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#144 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 09:25PM
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Gunner wrote:

Anyone see the OHL allstar game? They asked Hall's father about his son going first overall. He responded by saying something along the lines of its exciting but he wishes some other teams would lose some more games. of course I'm paraphrasing but, ouch.

haha I half heard that too. I was making dinner, and I was like "wait, what did he just say? He wants OTHER teams to start losing? What does that even mean?"

Hopefully that means we get Tyler Seguin.

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#145 Reagan
February 03 2010, 09:25PM
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"Anyone see the OHL allstar game? They asked Hall's father about his son going first overall. He responded by saying something along the lines of its exciting but he wishes some other teams would lose some more games. of course I'm paraphrasing but, ouch."

He's obvioulsy a Toronto Fan, not realizing that TO doesn't have their pick, or he wants his kid to play in the East.

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#146 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 09:29PM
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Gunner wrote:

Anyone see the OHL allstar game? They asked Hall's father about his son going first overall. He responded by saying something along the lines of its exciting but he wishes some other teams would lose some more games. of course I'm paraphrasing but, ouch.

you're effing with us right? say it ain't so Joe.

Aw frack... Is it wrong if I want to punch his dad? and by proxy Taylor Hall?

Don't you know Edmonton has a really big mall!!! AND JEANSHORTS! geeze kid get your priorities straight....

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#147 Harlie
February 03 2010, 09:30PM
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Shaved plastic face Peca freaks me out. Hairy stubble face Peca does not.

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#148 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 09:31PM
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I am a little confused. what does 0-0 mean? I don't think I have seen that before this season.

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#149 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 09:33PM
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The oilers don't look so pathetic tonight.... by Wanye that win did them some good.

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#150 Clangger
February 03 2010, 09:38PM
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Eric Johnson wrote:

I am a little confused. what does 0-0 mean? I don't think I have seen that before this season.

0-0 is what the score was before thecaptainethanmoreau takes a stupid penalty with 2 minutes left in the game and the Flyers then score on the PP

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