Anton Belov Demoted

Jonathan Willis
December 05 2013 03:48PM

 

The Oilers have announced the demotion of Anton Belov to the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons.

Key Questions

1. Did the Oilers need the roster space with their recent call-ups?

The Oilers official roster currently shows 14 healthy forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders. That's a full NHL roster, but Boyd Gordon could easily be shuffled off to retroactive injured reserve (joining Tyler Pitlick, Ilya Bryzgalov and Richard Bachman on the list). As Bruce McCurdy pointed out on Monday, Gordon could go on injured reserve and be eligible to return for Saturday's game.

So unless Gordon plays tonight, no the Oilers didn't need the roster space. And even if Gordon's ready to go, Edmonton could have avoided this situation by just leaving Martin Marincin in the minors. 

2. This saves Edmonton money, right?

Yes it does. Assuming that neither player hits his performance bonuses, Marincin's roughly $200,000 cheaper. It's difficult to imagine that $200,000 being decisive in this move, though.  

3. Does Belov need to clear waivers?

No. Belov is on his entry-level contract, so there is no risk of losing him on the waiver wire. 

Why It's A Bad Idea

The simple answer is this: there are not seven better defenders on the Oilers roster than Anton Belov. Here's what the depth chart looks like today, based on total minutes handed out by the coaching staff:

  1. Jeff Petry: 640 minutes
  2. Andrew Ference: 595 minutes
  3. Anton Belov: 528 minutes
  4. Justin Schultz: 457 minutes
  5. Nick Schultz: 435 minutes
  6. Philip Larsen: 170 minutes
  7. Denis Grebeshkov: 96 minutes
  8. Corey Potter: 85 minutes
  9. Taylor Fedun: 49 minutes

We could point to Belov's strong underlying statistics, his size and strength and ability to move the puck, or any number of other items, but the biggest point here is that the only left-side defender ahead of Belov in total minutes is Andrew Ference. The coaches have made it clear, by their ice-time decisions, that Belov is seen as a top-four defender on this team.

Now, nothing says the coaches can't scratch a top-four defenceman, to try and get him to improve his game. But one does not simply demote a top-four defenceman for a guy who has never played an NHL game. It's bizarre. 

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Young Oil
December 05 2013, 03:50PM
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I'm getting real tired of this circus.

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#2 ValleyviewSports
December 05 2013, 04:04PM
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Belov should be in before Potter at absolutely all times.

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#3 oilerjed
December 05 2013, 03:50PM
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WTF did he say to Eakins?

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#4 DAVE
December 05 2013, 04:07PM
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I would'nt mind seeing J.Schultz in the minors for a weekend either.

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#5 tileguy
December 05 2013, 04:08PM
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I'm so sick, rushing home to watch the oilers.

I'm so sick that i actually am hoping they get beat 10-0

I'm so sick that I have lost all my community pride of my team.

I'm so sick people down east (and easterners living here) make fun of me and my team.

I wish kevin would just go.

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#6 Nipper
December 05 2013, 03:59PM
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Is this bye bye Belov? What are the chances he signs here gain?

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#7 geoilersgist
December 05 2013, 03:52PM
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wow

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#8 tileguy
December 05 2013, 03:56PM
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more stupidity!

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#9 forsoothed
December 05 2013, 04:18PM
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Until Gagner sits a game, all this talk about "accountability" is just hot air.

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#10 Joe Mamma
December 05 2013, 04:10PM
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I think the oilers twitter feed should just say #Oilers #Derp. And just re-tweet it everyday.

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#11 mlcselli
December 05 2013, 06:04PM
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Belov is in the minors, Petry is in the press box and Smid is in Calgary. They're not the best defenders in the league, but they're the best we have or had. Icing an AHL team on an NHL roster is undoubtedly one of the most moronic, nonsensical decisions made by this foolish group of managers to date.

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#12 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 04:13PM
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tileguy wrote:

I'm so sick, rushing home to watch the oilers.

I'm so sick that i actually am hoping they get beat 10-0

I'm so sick that I have lost all my community pride of my team.

I'm so sick people down east (and easterners living here) make fun of me and my team.

I wish kevin would just go.

I just picked up almost 400 dollars worth of hockey tickets for 25 bucks. Something tells me your not the only one.

I may have overpaid

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#13 5inatrailer
December 05 2013, 03:55PM
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I'm guessing he was only only one with the ball$ to call a spade a spade and tell the coaches their system is confusing and retarded. Who is out there that would make a great defensive coach?

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#14 Rama Lama
December 05 2013, 05:44PM
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OK just to set the record straight, I just got off the phone with Mac T and KLowe.......the reason for demoting Belov was because he is not fit. This was also the reason for trading SMID.

We were far too heavy in the position and this makes us smaller and faster and now fitter.

Everything will be OK now.......relax people, Mr. Fitness is in charge.

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#15 tileguy
December 05 2013, 04:14PM
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Belov was actually quite calm on the puck. Yeah he got stripped once in a while but that was part of his learning game on the small ice. He made good strides in the north american game early on and was still growing today. He is the one player on the oilers capable of learning on the job.

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#16 Puck_In_Throat
December 05 2013, 04:19PM
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This is clearly being made just to allow the Oilers to play Marincin for tonight. Like when they re-assigned Arcobello earlier. Belov will not get on a plane. But b/c of his contract, he can be sent down w/o having to clear waivers.

Plain and simple, that's the reason. Every other player sitting out would have to clear.

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#17 HugThePost
December 05 2013, 04:16PM
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where is today's GDB?

Or have we reached the point where it is pointless to even consider the outcomes of the games have any uncertainty to them.

Sigh. Following this team is grimness.

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#18 oilerjed
December 05 2013, 03:54PM
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A couple of hours ago it was VERY important to the coach that he see the game from upstairs. Looks like they feel he can get the same instruction as the rest of us.

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#19 Spydyr
December 05 2013, 04:25PM
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Everyone just relax.The sent him down because they are about to trade for Weber.

Thought we needed some comedy relief.

Other then from "the braintrust"

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#20 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 04:15PM
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I really don't like Dallas Eakins. Just watch him bench Perron next.

#no more defending you, Dallas.

# blows my mind

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#21 HugThePost
December 05 2013, 04:01PM
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Huh??!!

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#22 ValleyviewSports
December 05 2013, 04:10PM
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the fact that Eakins says that the expectation of Petry is to develop into a top defender makes me question the expectations of all the D-men. furthermore, How is Petry to develop into that without ever playing under a top defender? Why are we so dysfunctional? If they are Expecting more out of Belov that is one of the most bogus things I've heard. gOd, looking over everything that has happened and what could potentially happen sure is excruciatingly frustrating

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#23 DAVE
December 05 2013, 04:10PM
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ValleyviewSports wrote:

Belov should be in before Potter at absolutely all times.

I would potty flush Potter at my earliest convenience.

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#24 pkam
December 05 2013, 04:13PM
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No need to panic yet. Remember the Oilers did it once before with Acro? Acro didn't actually leave town. The Oilers just use it to work around the 23 man roster limit without the need to put any player on the IR.

Like Acro, Belov doesn't have to clear waiver to be assigned to OKC so he is the most obvious choice.

If Belov didn't leave town and head to OKC, no reason to panic.

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#25 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 04:18PM
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pkam wrote:

No need to panic yet. Remember the Oilers did it once before with Acro? Acro didn't actually leave town. The Oilers just use it to work around the 23 man roster limit without the need to put any player on the IR.

Like Acro, Belov doesn't have to clear waiver to be assigned to OKC so he is the most obvious choice.

If Belov didn't leave town and head to OKC, no reason to panic.

How many games did Arco miss that he shouldn't have?! I'm panicked. This management team is one of the worst ever assembled in any professional sports team.

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#26 David S
December 05 2013, 06:29PM
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Now Belov is out too? WHAT THE H3LL IS GOING ON HERE???

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#27 6 ring circus
December 05 2013, 07:07PM
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Is it just me or does anyone else think the Oilers coaching and management group don't know WTF They are doing !!!

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#28 HugThePost
December 05 2013, 05:03PM
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Congrats Gregor!

We should all contribute our GDB for him.

GDP: Oilers are stunned by the benching of a couple of regulars, turn in another listless effort in front of a home crowd and lose 7-2.

OGDP: The crowd starts chanting "We Want 10" halfway through the 2nd when Colorado takes a 7-0 lead.

NSOGDP: The Avs totally take their foot off the gas in the 3rd, moving all of the defence up to forward, and 6 forwards back on D. They make the forwards moving to D switch which way they shoot. The Oilers still cannot break out of their zone. After the game, Patrick Roy says he couldn't hear the We Want 10 chant because his Stanley Cup Rings are still stuck in his ears.

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#29 Greasy Goal
December 05 2013, 04:05PM
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Nipper wrote:

Is this bye bye Belov? What are the chances he signs here gain?

I am sure when he signed here he realized this could be a reality. Making the team out of the training camp was a pleasant surprise for Oiler fans but I guess coaches n co want to see something more out of him.Not sure how long he'll be down there but the sooner he comes up the better.

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#30 ValleyviewSports
December 05 2013, 04:20PM
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@HugThePost

Jason "The Gregorman Gregs" Gregor had a kid today, I assume he's sitting it out today as he usually does the GDB... LOTS of pertinent info would be in that thing today haha

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#31 madjam
December 05 2013, 06:38PM
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BENCHING AND DEMOTING ? IS THAT THE ONLY TOOL FOR MOTIVATION EAKINS HAS ? What's with these clowns , who's making these bonehead decisions ?

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#32 terranq
December 05 2013, 05:47PM
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I find it helps to read all Oilers news while listening to Yakety Sax

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#33 westcoastoil
December 05 2013, 03:53PM
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This seems like a good move - send him down to get lots of minutes against easier opposition

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#34 mayorblaine
December 05 2013, 04:51PM
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allow me the privilege:

GDB Number who cares:

Gregor had a baby. He's a dad! Great news.

GDP: OILERS LOSE!

OGDP: OILERS LOSE!

NOGDP: OILERS TIE!

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#35 mlcselli
December 05 2013, 06:25PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Wheres the GDB?

I'll do the honour of providing the GDB--- Obvious prediction--we suck and we lose. Not so obvious.--- Taylor Hall sits in the middle of the ice half way thru the second and cries his eyes out. What I like to see--Captain Ference skating over to the bench at the start of the third and punching Eakins in his big ugly yap. The camera pans to the press box and shows Petry laughing at the idiot that just got knuckled.

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#36 T&A4Flames
December 05 2013, 06:40PM
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Tanking again......already???

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#37 D-Unit
December 05 2013, 07:29PM
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Don't quite understand why people are upset about this. No matter what the Oil do on defence they have 4 AHL D on the roster. Might as well rotate them all through the AHL. They are also no better or worse with Belov on the team. He isn't a win or lose difference maker. None of the D are n

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#38 Danger Pay
December 05 2013, 04:00PM
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All I've got to say is

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM-7Ts-3wmY

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#39 TKB2677
December 05 2013, 04:27PM
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What are people worried about with the guys they are sitting or demoting?

The Oilers defence has been terrible. Worse case scenario is they continue to be terrible.

OH NO!!!

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#40 admiralmark
December 05 2013, 05:47PM
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Ference= 2nd Pairing D man Belov=2nd Pairing Dman Shultz JR= 2nd Pairing D man Shultz Sr= 3rd pairing D man Petry=2nd Pairing Dman Larson 3rd pairing Dman Potter= AHL Dman Fedun=3rd Pairing Grebishkov=SEL Dman(maybe)

When a team like the Oil decide to roll with a lineup like this it means 2-3 D men are playing at positions high above their abilities. What this ultimately means is players are going to go through these major periods of struggles... To think it will end is foolish. The question is can this do damage to a players progression long term?

This rebuild game plan of scorching the earth is showing to be a horrendous concept. Upcoming, even potential superstars would be much better served with a veteran skilled player "still" in his prime to show the way somewhat. I don't think theres an option here.. MacT HAS to get a 1st pairing d man on this team before next season.

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#41 Serious Gord
December 05 2013, 07:08PM
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Bizarre.

There is no better word to describe the last 24 hours and for that matter the goings on back to the trading of smid.

Seems to me that greatly weakening the defense of the team is going to do nothing positive on the scoresheet, in the standings and to the morale and the development curve of the team.

Especially when - as has been noted be several others here and elsewhere - there are clearly other, higher profile players on the team who are arguably more deserving of a 'time out'.

WHAT A MESS. The oil are the new generation New York islanders.

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#42 Oiler63
December 05 2013, 04:22PM
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@HugThePost

Guess guys are too depressed to do one. It's extremely hard to keep the spirit high these days.

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#43 pkam
December 05 2013, 04:34PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

How many games did Arco miss that he shouldn't have?! I'm panicked. This management team is one of the worst ever assembled in any professional sports team.

You can choose to do whatever you want.

And to answer your question, he was scratched for 5 games but the Oilers won 3 of those 5 games. And Eakins had already clarified that Acro was not scratched because of his performance.

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#44 Bucknuck
December 05 2013, 05:15PM
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Yep... I'm losing faith.

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#45 Ari Gold
December 05 2013, 05:28PM
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Young Oil wrote:

I'm getting real tired of this circus.

Amen. He's been one of the only bright spots for this season. I think he's a great #4 Dman. He's currently playing in a #2 spot and not quite getting eaten alive. Props to the kid.

The ONLY valid reason I'd accept for sending him down would be to build his confidence. He needs to shoot a bit more but I haven't too many problems with the way he's played. He makes far fewer mistakes than all the other Dmen.

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#46 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 05:49PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

OK just to set the record straight, I just got off the phone with Mac T and KLowe.......the reason for demoting Belov was because he is not fit. This was also the reason for trading SMID.

We were far too heavy in the position and this makes us smaller and faster and now fitter.

Everything will be OK now.......relax people, Mr. Fitness is in charge.

As sad as it is...there is most likely some truth behind your sarcasm. Eakins should try and get some skates on a dozen marathon runners and see how they work .Fitness isn't everything.

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#47 Taylor Gang
December 05 2013, 05:58PM
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Wheres the GDB?

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#48 Andrew
December 05 2013, 04:35PM
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Is this latest move by MacT supposed to rassure anyone. Players and fans included?

This strategy reminds me of composting. You take the aleady rotten crap from the bottom of the pile and put it on top. You shovel sh#t from the top and put it underneath to get it even more rotten and stinky. Please someone...tell me I'm wrong.

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#49 Truth
December 05 2013, 05:18PM
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GDP: Oilers come out fired up but can't score early or at all. Lose 6-0.

OGDP: Oilers blow.

NSOGDP: Gregor's new son looks conspicuously similar to Wanye. Congrats Mr. Gregor, my daughters birth is easily the best day of my life so far. Can't beat it.

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#50 Quinn the Eskimo
December 05 2013, 03:49PM
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About time.

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