GDB 1.0: THE RETURN OF THE JETS

Jason Gregor
October 01 2013 12:04PM

 

The Winnipeg Jets return to Rexall place for their first regular season game since March 29th, 1996. The Oilers haven't lost to the Jets at home in 17 years, the longest undefeated timeline in franchise history. Who cares that they haven't played since then, the fact is the Oilers haven't lost to them. 

The team you cheer for hasn't made the playoffs in seven seasons, longest active drought in the NHL, so you should embrace any winning streak, regardless of the technicalities.

Opening night is the best night for any fanbase, and the Oilers have been pretty damn good in home openers and season openers.

The Oilers will begin their 34th NHL season tonight at Rexall Place and they will open up a season for the 3rd time against the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers defeated the Jets 4-3 on October 10th, 1985 and tied them 3-3 on October 6th, 1990.

Historically the Oilers are very good in season openers, 19-10-4, and they are equally solid, 19-9-5, in home openers. They are even better, 18-6-3, in season openers at home, so if you play the odds it is a good bet to go with the Oilers tonight.

The Oilers will have eight new faces in the lineup tonight: newly-anointed captain Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, Luke Gazdic, Anton Belov, Will Acton, Jesse Joensuu, David Perron and Jason LaBarbera. If you include Marc Arcobello, who only played one game, almost half of their roster is new.

Add in Dallas Eakins and Keith Acton behind the bench, and the Oilers should be a vastly different team than last season.

The good news is that for the first time in four years the Oilers didn't get younger. Acton, Belov and Gadzic will play their first NHL games tonight, but they are 26, 27 and 24 respectively. All of the Oilers young players are a year older, and as Eakins pointed out on the first day of training camp, this is not a young team anymore.

After five consecutive seasons of top-ten picks, it is time to see some results on the ice. The Oilers need to start showing the potential that fans have patiently been waiting for.

LINEUP...

Smyth-Hall-Hemsky
Perron-Arcobello-Eberle
Joensuu-Gordon-Yakupov
Gazdic-Acton-Brown

Ference-J.Schultz
Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-Belov

Dubnyk
LaBarbera

JETS...

Ladd-Little-Wheeler
Kane-Scheifele-Setoguchi
Wright-Jokinen-Frolik
Tangradi-Slater-Thorburn

Enstrom-Byfuglien
Bogosian-Trouba
Stuart-Postma

Pavelec
Montoya

QUICK HITS...

  • Eberle led the NHL in preseason points with eight, and his linemate on most nights, David Perron, was tops in goals with five. Those two need to bring that production to the regular season and help the Oilers get off to a good start. If the Oilers can tread water until Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner return.
     
  • The Oilers got some good news today, as Gagner said he is hoping to return in five weeks. He lost four teeth, and had six screws and one metal plate put in the left side of his jaw. It wasn't wired shut, and that is why he could return sooner than the original two months prognosis.
     
  • Nugent-Hopkins was put through a fast-paced, intense skate after the morning skate. He is moving well, and he is pain free while shooting. Once he gets clearance for contact, he could return within 10-14 days.

  • Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Gagner, Smyth and Nick Schultz were named alternate captains today. If that isn't an NHL record for most alternate captains, it must be close. Eakins said they will rotate the "A" every game and the training staff knows the rotation.
     
  • I was a bit surprised Ladislav Smid wasn't in the top-six, but ultimately I'm not sure it matters. Smid plays a simple game, and I don't expect him to play any different without a letter on his jersey.
     
  • Hockey coaches and parents, as you get set for another season of minor hockey take a moment and read what George Kingston feels is necessary for young kids to be doing in practice and games. Smart man.
     
  • I've felt Ference was the right choice as captain for a long time. This interview with Ryan Rishaug just confirms that. Ference recognize that he can do more with his status of NHL player, than just play hockey. Excellent stuff.

LOOKING AHEAD....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers excel in season/home openers and they'll continue that trend tonight with a 4-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Perron continues his red-hot preseason scoring by adding two goals, one of a nifty redirection. Gadzic drops his gloves in a spirited first period scrap with Chris Thorburn.

NOT-S0-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After five months of reading and hearing he is washed up Smyth scores on a goal mouth scramble. Even the most ardent Smyth-hater cracks a smile, because for one night, Smyth is a go-to guy again. The best part about the first game of the season is that it gives every fan hope for a brighter season, and Smyth has become the player many are cheering for. Edmonton fans love to cheer for the blood and gut type player, and on this night Smyth rewards your loyalty.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR   

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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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#151 sizedoesmatter
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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Finnaly buffet line takes a penalty

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#152 Harry
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Hall is learning that he can't deke 3 guys by himself in the NHL. Bad turnover at blueline ends up in his net.

Watching Hemsky and Smyth play hockey is like watching a kitten being tortured.

What a complete waste of Halls icetime. Ben Eager would be more effective than Smyth and Hemsky is invisible out there.

I can only hope that Eakins can see this

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#153 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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Schultz doesn't need a slapper. That wrister is meaaan.

edit: another deflection! Beauty Gordon.

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#154 Harry
October 01 2013, 09:01PM
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Junk wrote:

I was shocked that Smid was not named an assistant captain and Schultz was...in what world does this make sense. Unlike you Jason I beleive this will have a big effect on Laddy as this is the second time he has been overlooked and think this meant a lot to him. Are the Oilers looking to move him? I can honestly see him asking for a trade this year if continued to be disrespected by the organization.

You sir are a complete fool!

Do you sit in the Oilers locker room? No you dont. Enough said

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#155 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:10PM
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Alsker wrote:

being hollering the same thing for half the period, but us tier 2 fans have no say in line combos.

Eakins has to see it.

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#156 brian_d
October 01 2013, 09:17PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Eakins has to see it.

Regardless, no way that happens that quickly.

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#157 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:30PM
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Dubnyk talking to the Ref during the stoppage: "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

edit: what u don't remember those commercials he was in?

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#158 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:46PM
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Looks like the scuffle earlier in the period woke up Dubbie.

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#159 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:54PM
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Nice scrap hope the kid gets an apple now.

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#160 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 10:03PM
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I guess I should make an anon account and change my name in between negative cancerous postings too....

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#161 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:07PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Yes but do you have to speak up EVERY time?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I71cY9Ysy5U

Please feel free to skip my posts it won't hurt my feelings.

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#162 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:35PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Scoreboard.

Yea, only reason Oilers can win some games is from powerplay. We saw that last year with the Krueger system. Just wait bud, games not done yet.

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#163 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:38PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Scoreboard.

TROOOOUBBAAA.

scoreboard says it's tied. Nice try.

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#164 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 10:44PM
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That's the first soft goal of the year.

And counting...

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#165 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:45PM
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5-4!!! Burn Edmonton. burn. Stay in the sewer of the league where you belong and don't come back.

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#166 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 10:46PM
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And there's number two.

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#167 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 10:46PM
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Defence would be good boys

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#168 Oilersman
October 01 2013, 11:30PM
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So close. Yet still soooooo far. I kind of wondered why DSF and Jj hate the Oilers so much but realized it is from the many defeats from the "old" days. The many playoff heart breakers, the talent and glory that was once abundant. It has taken time but we'll be able to get back to that form of hockey. It is coming. Right Lord? Amen.

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#169 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 11:53PM
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Before tonight I thought that there was absolutely no chance in hell this team would make the playoffs. After this game I think there might be a slim chance. Weird after a loss I know but it is what it is.

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#170 Slats
October 02 2013, 12:04AM
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Shaun Doe wrote:

Petry looked pretty terrible tonight I can only hope that he can shake it off and move in a less craptacular direction with his game. Joensuu was worth the price of admission though so there was some upside to the game... Sigh little victories

Petry? +1 and 22+ mins in the game - not sure he is even on the list of "need to do better"

Almost tied game with nice move at end as well

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#171 vetinari
October 02 2013, 04:24AM
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Too soon to start chanting "Schneider, Schneider" after a bad goal???

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#172 Overseas Oilman
October 01 2013, 12:38PM
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JG,

The pre-game write up on the Oilers website has Perron listed as day-to-day with an illness. Do you know anything about that?

Could we still win this game missing three of our top six?

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#173 HORDY hears a who
October 01 2013, 01:56PM
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If macT was just looking for a straight up fighter why didn't he just call up the "Dynamite Kid" Darcy Hordichuk??

Gadzic is a dud compared to Hordichuk as a tbh and 3/4 #imnotsaying #imjustsaying

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#174 Smokey
October 01 2013, 03:20PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I am really curious to see what Dubnyk can do with a half decent defence core in front of him. If they could reduce the amount of shots, his above average save percentage would actually translate to wins. At least I hope so.

I hope you are right, but I am concerned about poor faceoff percentages, and poor depth down the middle counter-balancing the hopeful improvement our defence. I hope that the defence is the strength of the team, in that they can move the puck better cause that's what has held the offence back for years.

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#175 war
October 01 2013, 03:59PM
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Dubnyk is only 10 percent of our problem.we have lots of talent up front,a much better defence with ferrence and belov(pluus a more experianced schultz)our problems is injuries and team toughness,has been for six years now!once they solve this playoffs they are bound,untill thatwe could always be a lottery team

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#176 The Big Dummy
October 01 2013, 04:09PM
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To all you stats nerds out there....Let me ask this questions: Would you rather give up 20 shots per game and have a .900 save percentage or 35 shots per game and have a .930 save percentage? If my math is correct, that is a 2.00 GAA vs. 2.45 GAA. What save percentage is going to win more games? My point is that the number that actually wins games is GAA.

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#177 Batfink
October 01 2013, 04:22PM
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Poolanov wrote:

Had a quick look over at Jets nation to see what their fans are saying about tonights game, but, oops, 0 comments on their game day blog. Funny what he has to say about their "corsi mineshaft" 3rd line though.

I thought he said some very nice things about us. It did seem as if they're more scared of us than we are of them, even with our injuries.

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#178 Smokey
October 01 2013, 04:23PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

You're right. And I'll put myself into the same camp as MacTavish who said Dubnyk isn't a legitimate NHL starter and still needs to prove himself.

That's called motivation. Remember MacT is part of the braintrust that has Ryan Smyth on the first line. (I hope I eat my words)

I'm sure 80 percent of fans would rather have Price then Dubby based on watching him. But if you just looked at the stats you could have a good debate on who is the better goalie. I know there is many variables in play when evaluating goaltending, and I for one know too little about the position to really make a good evaluation.

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#179 Smokey
October 01 2013, 04:34PM
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The Big Dummy wrote:

To all you stats nerds out there....Let me ask this questions: Would you rather give up 20 shots per game and have a .900 save percentage or 35 shots per game and have a .930 save percentage? If my math is correct, that is a 2.00 GAA vs. 2.45 GAA. What save percentage is going to win more games? My point is that the number that actually wins games is GAA.

If a team gives up 35 shots a game and the the gaa is 2.45, you have a prime Dominik Hasek in net, and your goalie probably wins you a lot of games. If you give up 20 shots a game your probably Detroit from 5-10 years ago.

Chances are both goalies or teams are winning games. One wins with amazing goaltending, and the other with great team defence.

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#180 Alsker
October 01 2013, 07:30PM
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Butters wrote:

We are all thinking it, so I will just come out and say it... 82-0

That is all.

It took 50+ posts to get the first kool-aid overdose,lol,way more sauce lovers tonite as we're only at 50some comments. Its hockey time!!!!

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#181 Dog Train
October 01 2013, 08:00PM
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Opening night... let's do this!

"Slick Rick" is calling for the Oilers to win 3-2 tonight. First goal by Perron while Hall adds a pair. GO OILERS GO!!

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#182 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:18PM
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Game on!!!

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#183 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:33PM
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Two deflections off of defensemen. Cherry would have a fit!

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#184 Alsker
October 01 2013, 08:40PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Maybe this is part of the system but WHAT is J. Schultz doing behind the Jets' net?

*nervous laugh*

swarm offense? Hey im all for it if it works....thank god it was Jokinen alone infront of Dubnyk.

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#185 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:56PM
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This is exciting hockey! Great game!

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#186 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:21PM
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brian_d wrote:

Regardless, no way that happens that quickly.

Not tonight but soon I hope.

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#187 dman
October 01 2013, 09:29PM
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@YFC Prez

Me too. Apparently it is like watching kittens being tortured

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#188 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:32PM
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Hockey Jesus Jr puts it in!

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#189 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:32PM
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YEsssssssss...Jonesuu....great play by Eberle!!!!!Bwaaaahaaaahaaaaaa

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#190 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:37PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Smyth caught on the back check.Get used to hearing that this year.

Was the Jets player standing still...lol

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#191 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 10:01PM
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The Oilers are on fire! Alarms are ringing!

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#192 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:23PM
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Harry wrote:

Funny how those two.clowns never show up when things are going well for the Oil.

DSF is clearly not an Oilers fan so thats warranted.

QSB is a textbook bandwagoner which is the worst kind of fan.

Wont argue with your take on DSF but there was a time QSB(prior to his dark knight avatar) was the ultimate optimist, even when everyone realized what we were facing. Bandwagoner is a word I wouldnt use.

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#193 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:44PM
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Spydyr wrote:

What is Dubbie's save percentage today?

About .850 4/26 If my math is right

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#194 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:45PM
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Pull him.

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#195 Shaun Doe
October 02 2013, 08:11AM
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Slats wrote:

Petry? +1 and 22+ mins in the game - not sure he is even on the list of "need to do better"

Almost tied game with nice move at end as well

Yes his stats line was fine but then so was the teams if you don't look at the score. He just didn't look good tonight to my eye. One of those cases where he stood out only because I kept seeing mistakes. Joensuu was -1 and he played a great game so what does that tell you?

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#196 j
October 02 2013, 08:17AM
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Andrew wrote:

I'm not quite sure what game Smyth thinks he was playing but I'm guessing it is called ass-hockey, because thats where he spent most of the game. First line MY ass!

What an embarASSment Smyth has become to himself and the fans. Whats the matter Smytty haven't you made enough $$$$$$$ yet. Just a suggestion leave on your own terms before you are booed off the ice.

Easy there kiddo. Smytty had a good pre-season that was parlayed into a cameo on the first line. I am certain this will autocorrect very quickly but you can't blame him for how he was utilized last night. The coach gave him the chance and it didn't work out that well against a real NHL team.

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