I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Dallas Stars, March 6, 2012

The Canucks were bad Tuesday night, and not the Michael Jackson kind of Bad, which is good. Rather, they were the Colour Me Badd kind of bad, which is so bad it transcends regular badness and bleeds over into “baddness.” (My wife: do they really spell it with two Ds? Oh, that’s bad. No, honey. It’s badd.)

Versus the Stars, the Canucks were badd. They flubbed passes, left massive defensive gaps, squandered powerplays, and generated next to nothing at even-strength. To make matters worse, they were rewarded zero points for their efforts, which, while an appropriate reward for zero effort, marks the second consecutive game they’ve walked away with nothing. It was the first time they’ve suffered back-to-back regulation losses since November 4th. I remember that game. I watched it. Also, I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 5 Stars

  • Like the web of a bipolar spider, the fact that the Canucks have gone four months since losing two straight in regulation can be spun either positively or negatively. It’s good, in the sense that it shows how consistent the team has been this year. But it’s bad, in the sense that the two-game losing stretch in November (Wild, Blues) featured some of the worst hockey the Canucks have played all year, and the team has returned to this. Everybody knows the only reason to go back in time is to ensure your parents fall in love so that you continue to exist (or to give Chuck Berry the idea for rock and roll), so this jaunt into the past is completely unnecessary.
  • On the Canucks’ first shift, Zack “Kasstrol GTX” Kassian burned in behind Mark Fistric for a breakaway. When Fistric grabbed ahold of Zack “Kass in the Cradle” Kassian’s stick, the referee signaled a penalty shot, and we had some good early drama. Unfortunately, the young forward seemed to take his fortune for granted, like a rich reality star, and Zack “Kardashian” Kassian flubbed the opportunity.
  • Unfortunately, that was pretty much the last we heard of Kassian as an offensive threat. The winger finished with zero shots on goal and zero hits — he was a nonentity. On the bright side, so was everyone else, so at least we know he’s fitting in.
  • Speaking of brightness, perhaps the lone bright spot was Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins, who had a goal and an assist and was on top of his game like Klaus Teuber standing on a map of Catan. Higgins opened the scoring midway through the second, after Jannik Hansen and Sammy Pahlsson forced a turnover in the neutral zone. The sudden transition caught Alex Goligoski unawares and caused the Stars’ defender to stumble while trying to turn back, and Higgins blew by him, then fired the puck past goaltender Richard Bachman to give the Canucks the lead. I’d say it was a stoppable shot, and not just because Bachman could see it all the way. Also, he’s made of solid matter, so the puck wouldn’t have gotten past him if he had been able to put his body where it was.
  • Unfortunately, the Canucks responded to Higgins’s goal by falling completely asleep. After surrendering a cheesy powerplay goal off a skate to tie the game, they allowed two 2-on-1s in the game’s final minute, the second of which resulted in Mike Ribeiro picking the top corner like that’s where the boogers were.
  • The best performance from a Vancouverite this evening came courtesy of Jack the dancing boy, who put more heart and soul into an LMFAO-scored TV timeout than the Canucks did all game. Amazingly, this kid didn’t energize the Canucks at all, which is a complete waste. Clearly, no inspiring youngster would have gotten through to them on this night. Not even the “if you believe in yourself, you will know how to ride a bike” kid.
  • Ryan Kesler was particularly grumpy tonight. If his three minor penalties weren’t a giveaway, his foul mood was especially noticeable when he collected the first one during a second period powerplay. After Richard Bachman froze the puck, Kesler took a whack at it, only to incite the ire of every Star on the ice. As the officials broke it up, he said some nasty words to Mark Fistric — words that looked, to my mind, to be along the lines of what Tanner Glass recently said needs to stop. Not cool, Kesler.
  • Here’s a fun thing to do: watch for the tweets from the Vancouver media every time Sammy Pahlsson makes a minor defensive error. He wasn’t good tonight, but his iffy coverage was consistently getting singled out. Clearly, some are skeptical of Pahlsson’s highly-touted defensive abilities and looking for evidence to the contrary. This is going to be a fun storyline to follow. Pahlsson may be the the only player on the team whose defence will be scrutinized as closely as offence.
  • Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis, he also made the best save in this game, robbing former Blackhawk Adam Burish early in the third. Of course, when the Community Man saw that Burish had been robbed, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
  • John Garrett, after Alex Edler’s fluky goal that almost got the Canucks back in it: “A taller goalie, that hits him in the shoulder.” Considering every NHL colour commentator used to be an undersized backup goaltender, I feel like throwing short backups under the bus has to be the broadcasting equivalent of snitching.
  • But John and John’s best/worst moment came in the first when Shorty told Garrett what CONCACAF stood for, then undermined any newly-gained acronym cred (it’s a thing) by admitting to Googling it. So if you were wondering why Shorty and Garrett often seem about as to have nothing to say about the game, it’s because their prepwork is mainly based on a completely different sport.
  • The Canucks might have been able to make a late push, but the game was put out of reach after Mike Ribeiro’s second goal made it 4-2. After Dan Hamhuis got caught too low, Daniel Sedin covered for him as the Stars broke back up the ice. Things might have been fine, but, for whatever reason, Daniel took “cover Dan Hamhuis” to mean “Do a Dan Hamhuis impression,” and attempted a poorly-timed hipcheck. Michael Ryder slipped by it easily and set Ribeiro up for the goal. On the bright side, Daniel’s turn as a hipcheck-happy but shaky defender was a nice Easter Egg for Keith Ballard fans.
  • Sadly, this was the most noticeable play by a Sedin on the night. Watching them go through this scoring slump is like watching Dan Radcliffe in anything besides Harry Potter. The whole time I’m just thinking, more wizardry, please.
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42 comments

  1. Josh D.
    March 7, 2012

    “Up the ice to Hodg-I mean KASSIAN. Old habits, even recent habits die hard, I guess!’

    This bit from Shorty is about all I liked tonight.

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  2. chicken chick
    March 7, 2012

    flockouplets (and a triplet too)
    about our team in green and blue:

    “to get back to their winning ways”
    depends in part how lui plays

    the twins no goals game after game
    they simply do not look the same

    the canucks with the stars war
    two points is what they’re fighting for

    a penalty shot was flubbed by zach
    there still are those want cody back

    eight of the clock ’twas after one
    the score remained no goals to none

    and now the game was into two
    r. bachman versus bobby lu

    i want someone to fight with ott
    so i can write with whom he fought

    hug higgins with a wrist shot scored
    l. erickson the tie restored

    i love the line kessler and booth
    now playing with the missing tooth

    the puck was passed with edler caught
    their second goal was all his fault

    “period three with john and john”
    ncis was also on
    stars scored again and we were gone

    of course we all returned to see
    if we would tie the game at three

    and ’twas edler who got one back
    “he’s even now,” said whisky jack

    and once again a two goal lead
    sedins’ return is what we need

    at which juncture we do confess
    we chose to watch ncis

    the nucks are in a mini slump
    so lui failed “to dump the gump”

    the olde coote
    whisky jack
    jenny wren
    chicken chick and chicken hawk
    and other members of the flock

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  3. James W.
    March 7, 2012

    That was a brutal game to watch. Higgins was the best forward, and he only was noticeable for the goal. If Kassian had scored on the penalty shot, it probably would have been a completely different game, but alas, here we are. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Canucks give up that many 2 on 1s, and how many wide open nets did Dallas miss?

    The good news is, Vancouver hasn’t lost 3 in a row all year, so we’re due for a win. The bad news is, Henrik Sedin though he and Daniel played well.

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  4. RG
    March 7, 2012

    No.

    EVERYBODY KNOWS THE ONLY REASON YOU GO BACK IN TIME IS TO PUNCH BIFF IN THE F*CKING FACE!

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    • Steeeve
      March 7, 2012

      How is this getting thumbed down? Biff funkin’ blows, people.

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      Rating: +3 (from 7 votes)
      • RG
        March 7, 2012

        I guess people just love bullies. Or maybe they’re ignoring the fact that if Biff didn’t get punched in the face, Burnaby’s favorite son (sorry Joe Sakic) wouldn’t even exist.

        I do offer my humble apologies regarding my language in my prior post.

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  5. sarah
    March 7, 2012

    Tanner Glass is awesome. Class act all around. And Dan Radcliffe was great in extras. Those are the only positive things I have to say.

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    Rating: +18 (from 20 votes)
    • sarah
      March 7, 2012

      Excuse the italics. Those were unintentional. Just wanted to add, if there are any other Tanner Glass fans out there, might want to try and find the most recent Rick Mercer Report. Rick was in Winnipeg, hanging out with the Jets, specifically Glass’s line. They have their own nickname, so that’s really cute.

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      Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  6. DavidGInNewWest
    March 7, 2012

    “When Fistric grabbed ahold of Zack “Kass in the Cradle” Kassian’s stick, the referee signaled a power play”

    Actually, it was a penalty shot.

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  7. Zach Morris
    March 7, 2012

    what a terrible game.

    Luongo couldn’t singlehandedly win the game. The pair of goals we got came against the flow of play. Everything sucked.

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
    • Zach Morris
      March 7, 2012

      As some wit on CDC said, “Alright. Send the Sedins to Ornskoldvik.

      They need to connect with their roots or something, because this is just ridiculous.”

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      Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
  8. Phileo99
    March 7, 2012

    Not sure why MGGM did not trade Raymond at the deadline, but the writing is starting to show up on the wall for the former 25-goal scorer.
    This is the second time the Canucks have coughed up the lead to the Stars. It’s like they forget how to play defence after scoring. I really hope we don’t face the Stars in the 1st round. I thought that the extra day off would have energized the team and the Sedins into putting on a better performance.
    Paper tigers are not good enough. They’ve got 15 games to figure it out. Time is ticking.

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    • Prophet
      March 7, 2012

      The obvious answer is MGGM wanted a power forward and TWO bags of pucks in return and no other GM was willing to offer more than ONE.

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      • madwag
        March 7, 2012

        beautiful! wish i’d written that.

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  9. SteveB
    March 7, 2012

    The game had its moments, but became more frustrating and disappointing as it wound down.
    • you don’t often see the puck get stuck in the net skirting
    • the stuck puck will most likely be the only thing that I remember about this game if I inexplicably ever try to recall it
    • I’d rather do my taxes than think about this game ever again.

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    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  10. Zach Morris
    March 7, 2012

    the Sedins and Burr combined for 11 shots last night.
    Henrik doesn’t hit that post in the first period, maybe the Sedins would have put on a show last night.

    they are getting the chances, they just need the luck.

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    Rating: +18 (from 18 votes)
  11. TheGilchy
    March 7, 2012

    The guys who posted that Kesler crashing videos must have huge troll faces… The videos entitled “Ryan Kessel”. And the narration in the video is “this is why Phil Kessel blows”. A single tear rolled down my cheek.

    I listened to the first on the radio at work, but, unlike Daniel, did not watch this game. Mass Effect 3 is sweet though!

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  12. SteveB
    March 7, 2012

    Holy Italics, Bettman!
    Did someone leave a tag unclosed?

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  13. tam
    March 7, 2012

    Harrison, you are right on re: Kesler’s f-bomb. As an openly gay hockey fan, I don’t think that I should have to put blinders on to be able to enjoy the game. What players need to realize is that when they are saying these things to opponents or in the dressing room, they are also hurting and marginalizing LGBTQ fans. Not a smart business move for a pro sports league, which relies on TV viewership and ticket sales.

    Kesler strikes me as someone who could stand to grow up a bit more. Everyone knows that he was told by management to stop chirping between whistles, and yet here he is doing it again.

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    • bergberg
      March 7, 2012

      You know, it’s funny because it seems Kesler has taken a step backwards from last year in multiple ways (don’t get my wrong, I’m still a big fan of his). My completely uninformed guess is that post summer surgery, he has been unable to get back to his physical play and point production that got him recognised league wide last year. Kesler seems like the kind of person who is their toughest critic, leading to built up frustrations over his play this season. His frustration is manifesting itself in his regression to chirping between whistles and getting back into the shananigans that it seemed he had moved away from. But by no means is there any excuse for that language. Here’s hoping Kesler can get back to himself for the playoffs!!

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      Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
      • tam
        March 8, 2012

        Remember when he took a silly penalty in R4G7 late in the game, costing Van a power play, and then went around hollering at random Bruins? What might have happened if he’d been able to keep his frustration at bay and carry on working?

        I STILL believe that Game 7 could have ended with a 5-4 canucks win.

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    • stathead
      March 7, 2012

      Two thumbs up to the new anti-gay “you can play” movement. It’s great that players are starting to root out calling each other “f*g(got)” as an insult & I hope that catches on quickly.

      Kes and the players who are still saying it all came up in the league exposed to that lingo and I think many use it as generic insults rather than homophobic, much like calling someone a bastard doesn’t actually mean you question their paternity. Apparently they also cast horrible aspersions on each other’s wives’ conduct hoping to rattle each other rather than as an actual indication of the wives’ true character.

      Saying “f*g(got)” as an insult can only deepen any existing stigma among some young players and worsen closeting of gay athletes, and so I hope they are able to get each other to stop saying it.

      But with reference to some of the comments on this article, to label all the guys who are saying it as *being* anti-gay bigots is inaccurate,and may cause some people who are on the fence on the issue to roll their eyes, say that using the language doesn’t make you a homophobe, and side with the “free speech” side.

      And it’ll take a little time, too. Anyone who has ever tried to break the habit of swearing, esp. while driving, knows it can take years & burst out again even after years, even though you never especially intended to start swearing but it just sort of came about because all your peers were doing it in high school & it’s what you heard all the time.

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      • tam
        March 7, 2012

        If folks don’t want to be known as homophobes, they shouldn’t use the language. People who truly believe in equality and respect do not use slurs. And that is why I’m very pleased about the You Can Play project – http://www.youcanplayproject.org

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        • stathead
          March 8, 2012

          I understand that a lot of people don’t consider how hard it is to break the language habit and that it wasn’t the choice of the players to be exposed to that kind of language. You want to play, you’re around people saying that all the time. There was no anti-profanity league for them to play in. These guys have been hearing it for ten years to mean “jerk”. It’s great that some of them are engaging in a project to help all players remember that “f*g(got)” doesn’t mean jerk but is a demeaning word for gay person.

          It won’t happen overnight.

          Or if it does, I hope they publish their secret, because it’s years since I started trying to not say the other “F” word around the kids, and occasionally in traffic it just pops out. I don’t mean it in reference to the sexual act, but that’s the actual meaning. It’s offensive and insulting, and it’s super hard to get it down to zero.

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  14. Kate
    March 7, 2012

    This game just wasn’t going to go the Canucks way. Missed penalty shot, weird stuck in the side of the net puck, missed open nets, almost over the goal line non-goal. Maybe all that bad luck psyched them out….(or lack of effort in general).

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    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  15. Chicky
    March 7, 2012

    This game sucked. SUCKED I tell you. If I see Grag’s go behind the net again and leave Burr holding the line, I’m gonna beat someone over the head. What the DUECE I say…!

    This stinkage has to stop, now, or we’re not going anywhere in the playoffs.

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    • zach
      March 7, 2012

      like Chris Tanev in the press box, I watched this game. Damn shame.

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      • Chicky
        March 7, 2012

        Which brings me to my next whining segment. WTH, Tanev should be out there! I’m going to go hunt up an inground for tomorrow, just in case.

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    • Nick
      March 7, 2012

      I wonder how much weight the Canucks are putting on getting Gragnani 11 more games to retain his status as an RFA this summer?

      Gragnani is a very un-Vigneault-like defenseman.

      AV cringes at Ballard’s occasional offensive zone rushes and untimely decisions to abandon his defensive position but Gragnani, in comparison, makes Keith look like a stay-at-home D.

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      • MelT
        March 7, 2012

        Agree 100%. I don’t see the point of having a d-man who can’t hit the net in close, while Daniel Sedin covers for him on the point. If this is all part of an experiment for the playoffs, fine, but meanwhile we’re losing games. As PITB said last recap, Ballard is watching at home and wondering WTF?

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  16. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 7, 2012

    Well Zack “Mama Kass” Kassian looked like he was California Dreamin instead of playing hockey, but he certainly had company in that regard, and as much as I haven’t much love for him, he was far from the worst Canuck out there today. That being said, his traveling partner from western New York is driving me crazy. Our 1st unit PP has scored nothing since Gragnani was put on it, and yet he hasn’t missed a minute of it. Slick passing to befuddle the opponents has been replaced with a defenceman standing in front of the net, meaning no D to D passes to shift the defence around, and a lot of good trapping opportunities to generate offence the other way. He either doesn’t know where he’s supposed to be or doesn’t care. I would say where he should be is in the press box. One of the keys to getting the Sedins going would be to kickstart the power play, and the way to do that might just be to return it to the setup that pushed it to first in the league. I can’t say I’m really loving Pahlsson either: as far as I can tell, he’s Manny Malhotra but not as good at faceoffs. And he certainly can’t push the offence like CoHo did.

    But you’re all wrong about Shorty and John. Their best line of this game was:
    Garrett: Hey, did I ever tell you that all of my career shutouts came against Winnipeg?
    Shorty: You’re kidding, really, every single ONE of them?

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  17. DanD
    March 7, 2012

    I, thankfully, did not watch this game. But I am glad there’s still 15 (I think) games until the playoffs.

    I suggest Zack “Blackjack” Kassian.

    Suggested Motto:

    “He’s like a bad blackjack dealer, he hits no matter what number he sees.”

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  18. Tracey
    March 7, 2012

    Tanner Glass is pure awesomeness, as if there were ever any doubt. After the disgrace that was this game, thanks for sharing that link.

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  19. VanFan85
    March 7, 2012

    What is worrisome about this current Canuck slump is that is entirely reminiscent of what went wrong in last year’s SCF losses: Canucks giving up too many quality scoring chances, Luongo not being able to make a big stop, Sedins only showing up on stat sheet as negatives in the +/- column, opposition able to score in bunches (4 goals in a 12 minute span last night) and the PP going cold. It all sounds too familiar…

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    • Nick
      March 7, 2012

      Yup … with the tighter checking and with the refs seeming to be pocketing their whistles rather than calling clutching and grabbing, this is very reminiscent of playoff hockey.

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  20. Brent
    March 7, 2012

    Watching the live practice on Canuckstv right now (first time). They seem to be practicing 2 on 1 and 3 on 2′s quite a bit. Guess they have decided if they are going to give up so many odd man rushes, they might as well work on defending it!

    Also looks like Dale Weise is back up.

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  21. Cathylu
    March 7, 2012

    I’m just going to put this game in the “Pretend It Never Happened” file.

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  22. Stinkpickle
    March 7, 2012

    Alex “Eddie Baby” Edler has looked lost for the last two or three games. Someone throw some more salmon on the ice so Eagle can find his way back!

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    • obituary mambo
      March 7, 2012

      Yikes! Which Canuck does the nickname Salmon belong to? I don’t want to see any of them chopped to bits, even if it will help Edler find his game.

      On second thought, I might be confused. Perhaps there never was a Salmon and I was thinking of Coho. But I don’t want to see former Canucks chopped up for bait either.

      My apologies for dwelling on the irreverent. Thinking about this game makes my heart hurt.
      Speaking of, it saddens me that Kes said such a hateful thing. You’d think living in a city as progressive as Vancouver is would have knocked the bigotry out of him.

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  23. akidd
    March 7, 2012

    yup, it was a stinker. there have been a few really good games by the canucks in 2012…but not many. goaltending has bailed them out time and again or they might have found themselves in a similar spot as the sharks.

    it seems that with every single forward besides hansen having a sub-par year offensively and with the big boys (kesler, sedins) way down that the timing was a bit strange to trade away the one guy who was on the upswing offensively.

    i think that most teams that makes substantial moves at the deadline suffer some chemistry woes for awhile and i’m pretty sure these canucks will be playing much better eventually. but i still wonder where the goals are going to come from.

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  24. Body Schmautz
    March 7, 2012

    I say the Tanner Glass is half-full. Some good teams out there having slumps far worse than the Canucks’ (so far). A good Zack Kick-ass-ian will get ‘em going (yep sorry).

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  25. Nick
    March 7, 2012

    I, for one, would like to see the Canucks bring Kassian along a bit more slowly.

    It’s plain to see that he’s got offensive potential, but he’s still a minnow and not yet ready for prime time in the top 6.

    Let Manny and Max teach him how it’s done, and maybe give Zack the occasional “reward” shift with the big boys after PKs.

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