New York Rangers Quarter Mark Round Table

The BSB crew answers questions!

The season has had it’s ups and downs so far. Depending on your expectations, you’re either not surprised or extremely disappointed after such a promising offseason. We at Blue Seat Blogs wanted to give you, the readers, where our thoughts are on the quarter mark of the season. Let the round table commence!

The Rangers are 26th in the league at the quarter mark of the season, how do you feel?

Tyler McGillick: I’m in the middle. Ultimately, if this season persists, we’ll get a high draft pick and one who can hopefully become part of the solution. However, after such a huge offseason and the additions the organization brought on, I’m also disappointed that the talent on this roster has not been able to fully blossom that I would have expected.

Rob Celletti: All in all, not bad. A lot of the numbers – from the team’s record to its ugly underlying shot/chance metrics – are poor, but there are also reasons to be hopeful. Kaapo Kakko has proven he belongs, Artemiy Panarin is a legitimate superstar, and Adam Fox may be the team’s future #1 defenseman. The foundation is coming together, and for that reason I’m optimistic.

Pat KeoghAs far as my general feelings, I’m having fun and finding things to look at each game that bring me joy and satisfaction regardless of the loss. Watching Georgiev track the puck effectively, seeing Libor Hajek make smart outlet passes, seeing Chytil think on his feet, and of course Kaapo Kakko, to round out the youngsters I’ve been watching develop. My feelings on Artemi Panarin are too long for the purposes of this little ditty, so let me just say this: he’s good.

Becky HabibI feel like this is about right. The amazing thing about fans is that they know this is a rebuilding season but haven’t come to terms with the fact that a rebuild takes longer than five games. Nobody expects the Rangers to get to the playoffs, and if you do, please share some of your Optimism with me.

Rob LukerI’m not mad, just disappointed. NYR has a points percentage of 0.500 meaning they’re on pace for 82 points – which would be about 6-7 points below where the average model had them going into this season. It would look even worse if it wasn’t for an 8th ranked PDO of 101.2 at 5v5 (9.7% shooting, 0.915 goaltending).

Jeremy Rutherford: About how I expected to feel, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch.  The defense is actually worse than I expected, but for the most part, it was going to be a tough year until the D prospects arrive.


In addition to the above question, has the team met or not met your expectations going into this season?

TM: I thought this team would struggle night in and night out to find consistency, but I thought they’d be a middle of the pack team fighting for a wild card spot. As we sit today, we’re in the Lafreniere/Byfield sweepstakes. Seems like a waste of Panarin and Trouba’s respective primes. Hopefully, it is JUST this year this happens. I don’t want to become the Minnesota Wild.

RC: Earlier on this season, I would’ve said they were falling short of expectations, but this most recent surge of decent hockey has put the Rangers about where I expected them to be in terms of their record. I think a playoff berth is a stretch, but I also don’t think this team should finish at the bottom of the league either. 85-90 points with some meaningful hockey down the stretch is what I expect, and they’re on track for that.

PK: To be honest, in retrospect I’m not sure what I anticipated from this team. I was firm in the belief that if they were firing on all cylinders this season and things broke their way they could be in playoff contention – obviously that’s not really in the picture right now, barring some sort of semi-miraculous, definitely improbably occurrence. Still, I guess this season I just expected to see some bright spots, some warts, and in general just kind of the sometimes electric, sometimes haphazard hockey that we’re seeing right now. Hard to say if this is the kind of expectation that a team “meets” so let’s just say they’re in a place that I considered coming into this season.

BH: This is about what I expected. The only thing I’m disappointed with is that Ruff is still the D coach.

RL: The Rangers have not met my expectations simply because there are some straightforward lineup tweaks that could lead to better defensive results. As of 11/18 the Rangers have the following expected goals splits/ranks at 5v5:

Expected Goals Percentage: 43.8 % / 30th

Expected Goals For per 60: 2.33 / 16th

Expected Goals Against per 60: 2.99 / 31st (worst since shot attempts began to be tracked in 2007.

This was a similar story to last year – the Rangers can create offense at a decent level – it’s just a matter of limiting shots and chances against. Of course Lindy Ruff should’ve been gone over the offseason, however the two quickest fixes would be to send Howden to Hartford and move Hajek to the 3rd pair (or send him down as well). When those two aren’t on the ice for NYR, the team is anywhere from 5-10% better off in shots and chances.

JR: More or less. I was honestly hoping for a little more consistency from the kids, but I’d pin a lot of that on David Quinn.


Artemiy Panarin leads the team in scoring with—at the time of this—23 points in 18 games, with where the team is, are you ultimately happy with the signing and does it make sense for the organization?

TM: Yes and yes. The Rangers and the fans have been STARVING for superstar talent like this. It has obviously come at a cost with where we are in the standings, but Panarin will be a part of the next window of contention.

RC: The signing was an absolute slam dunk. Panarin is unquestionably worth the contract both in terms of length and dollars, and I expect that to be the case even a few years from now.

PK: Absolutely 100% satisfied and beyond. I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with everything he does. I’m still optimistic about how we’re coming out of this rebuild (no, we’re not stuck in it by any means) and think as things develop over the course of his contract he’s going to see the rest of the team rise maybe not to his exact level – that’s tough to do – but to his level of consistent proof that things are going well.

BH: I’m thrilled. Not a game goes by that I’m not in absolute awe of his talent, vision and ability. When the rebuild is done, I would bet the house that he’s a huge part of a winning team.

RL: Yes and mostly yes. He’s a play driver and has shown he can create offense with almost anyone. That said, if this year was intended to be a step forward compared to last year, then NYR is making brutal decisions elsewhere in the lineup (see above, plus other items) that are wasting some prime TOI of Panarin (and Trouba).

JR: Ecstatic with the signing. Couldn’t be working out better, so far.  I do think the timing was a little off for his acquisition, but legitimate prime age star talent isn’t available for just money all that often, so I have no issues with it.  Hopefully in a year or two the rebuild will catch up to Panarin.


Igor Shesterkin is tearing up the AHL with a 1.77 GAA and a God-like .936 save percentage in 10 games. Should he get called up to see what we have and Georgiev get sent down for a time?

TM: According to CapFriendly, Georgiev is STILL waiver exempt, I say why the hell not?! Of course we’re trying to platoon the goalies and get Georgiev’s value up for a potential trade, but this might be fun to get a small glimpse of the future in net with Shesterkin.

RC: This is a difficult one, especially because Georgiev will become waivers-eligible after a few more games. I think it probably makes sense to see Shesterkin at the NHL level sooner rather than later, but the Rangers should also be trying to maximize Georgiev’s value for a potential future trade. For now, I’d keep Shesterkin in Hartford.

PK: I think that’s an intriguing idea that the coaches would have to really explain the right way to Georgiev, the notion that “hey, we’ve got a decision to make, and it might go your way, but if we’re going to do this thoroughly we need to evaluate everything we’ve got in front of us fully” but also (correct me if I’m wrong, anyone editing or reading this) he’d need to clear waivers, which would be a big risk as far as asset management goes.

BH: I think he should stick around the AHL for at least half the season. Why are we rushing this? He’s very young and doing extremely well. I think pushing for him to be called up early would be premature and would only be advisable if the Rangers truly thought they had a shot this year.

RL: Sure, but at the same time if Georgiev is going to be traded for an asset, I’d rather just have Igor come in once that is done.

JR: It’s a tough call.  I do think Shesterkin has earned a call up and a chance to show what he can do at the NHL level.  My concern is diminishing Georgiev’s value right when he is struggling.  I think moving Georgiev at the trade deadline could be considered, but I honestly think that Henrik Lundqvist should consider accepting a trade (shh…more on that topic next week).


Lias Andersson was sent down, was this the right move for his development?

TM: Yes, but at a cost. No Lias Andersson hasn’t dazzled and shown that he has “earned” more ice time. But all I’ve been told is how Quinn is a developmental guru and to be honest, Andersson has been given the shaft on that. When Zibanejad went out with his mystery injury, Andersson should have gotten more ice time with far better line mates. You aren’t going to develop with a face puncher and a borderline AHL/NHL tweener in Greg McKegg. Hope he takes this and runs with it in Hartford.

RC: Yes. I share in the frustration that Andersson wasn’t given a much an opportunity to succeed, but I also think his game has slipped since a strong pre-season showing. I’m aware that he was playing less than 10 minutes per night with subpar line mates, but it was clear a lack of confidence had taken hold over the past couple of weeks. One factor that needs to be mentioned as well: David Quinn is not a coach who rolls four lines. Even if he had a quality fourth line, it wouldn’t play much more than 7-8 minutes at even strength per night. Any young player put in that situation isn’t going to succeed, meaning Andersson’s assignment to Hartford definitely makes the most sense for him in the short-term. A separate but related issue is the performance of Brett Howden, who hasn’t done much of anything to earn the 3C spot that he seems to have cemented at this point.

PK: I’m likely on the far end either way of the bell curve of opinions here: I’d say yes. He’s obviously not going to grow and develop with 4 minutes of ice time a night, so let him get some confidence, round out his game, prove to the coaches and management that he’s a real live NHLer, or at least far too good for the AHL, and so on. Force JG and JD to make a tough decision, force them to think things through, and then as fans we’ve just got to have faith they’ll navigate that the right way. It’s no secret (to all my rabidly devoted fans, at least) that I’m a big Lias guy, but I want to address the notion that there isn’t or hasn’t ever been a plan. Plans change and shift over time, and that doesn’t mean the front office is playing touch and go here. Maybe this is them committing to a course of action – the start of something coherent instead of the end.

BH: Yes. This is an unpopular opinion, but I think Andersson is getting a lot of love from Twitter because he hasn’t been given ice time that people seem to think he inherently deserves. This will give him the ice time and maybe he’ll come back on a tear like Chytil did. People rip Quinn A LOT, and some of it is deserved, but I feel confident that he knows how to coach young talent.

RL: Probably, but I’m also likely not alone in the frustration of him not getting a shot at real TOI with real wingers given the performance of Howden and Strome (who is still struggling defensively, mind you). There seems to be no discernable plan with Andersson and that seems a bit bonkers for a professional hockey organization.

JR: I honestly don’t think so.  It is certainly possible that Lias wasn’t as safe a pick as everyone thought and he just isn’t going to pan out, but I think, especially given the non-competitive season this is, that you give him a regular shift with talented linemates for an extended run and see what you have.  The talent gap between the NHL and AHL is just too big to expect the type of development Andersson needs.


Besides Panarin, who has surprised you the most so far this season? Who has disappointed you the most?

TM: The most surprised player for me is Filip Chytil. We had an inkling he could be good, but I did not expect him to be THIS good since his call up. He’s a fantastic hockey player and might be the steal of that 2017 draft early on. The most disappointing to me is Brett Howden. I’m really beginning to wonder what the Lightning saw in this guy to make him a first round pick. He just looks overmatched and is really bad away from the puck and as a center, you can’t do that.

RC: Adam Fox has been the most pleasant surprise. At least a few times per game, he does something that makes me go, “Wow.” It isn’t necessarily his offense, either. He makes heady plays in the defensive zone, and smart little outlet passes that ignite the rush. He’s got hockey sense beyond his years and has already shown he’s the type of defenseman that can carry his running mate (see Marc Staal’s improved on-ice results when paired with Fox). That’s the true sign of a #1 defenseman, which is what I believe Fox will become sooner rather than later. On the flipside, Brett Howden has been abysmal. He’s shown no improvement in his game at either end of the rink, even though he’s been given ample opportunity alongside pretty good line mates in Brendan Lemieux and Kaapo Kakko. Howden is slow and indecisive; I honestly can’t see what made him a first round pick of the Lightning in the first place (I guess he’s one of those guys who “scored at every level” as he developed, but so did Brendan Lemieux, so who cares?). This Tweet pretty much sums it all up. Next time you’re watching the Rangers, take note of where the puck usually is when Howden’s line is on the ice (hint: not in the offensive zone).

PK: Big surprise? Libor Hajek. I just love his game, and could go on and on about how he’s going to be a big part of this team for a while (hopefully, to me) or at least put things in perspective and compel what is surely to be a difficult decision, that again, is going to require some faith from the fans, but just on my part seems like it can only end well (imagine a trade scenario involving Hajek, or whoever he forces out? probably brings back someone nice that we can use elsewhere, be it a draft pick or player). Disappointment wise, I’d go with probably Brady Skjei, despite his recent push. He just doesn’t seem to me to fit in with the rest of the program, but I’d love to be wrong here. Not a lot disappointing to me though in general; Skjei is a good player who might be situationally not right for where this team is going, and makes plays on the ice that I wouldn’t necessarily make, were I an incredibly talented, highly trained professional athlete.

BH: Surprised me the most: Buchnevich. He’s been incredible. I don’t know what happened, but dang, can it keep happening? Disappointed me the most: Sjkei. He just looks lost sometimes, and I think I had heightened expectations because his pal Trouba was joining him on the team. I think the talent is there, and I hope he consistently can tap in to it.

RL: Surprised: Adam Fox will be the hot answer here, but I’m going to go with Brendan Lemieux and Brady Skjei. For Lemieux, he’s proving he can be a reliable option in the bottom six – let’s hope he doesn’t become too expensive for some reason starting next season. As for Skjei, things have been clicking since partnering with DeAngelo, which is good because NYR needs value of his contract.

JR: Adam Fox has been the biggest surprise for me.  I thought he would be good, but he has been much better than I would have expected. Disappointment has to be Lias.   I thought he would take a big step forward this year, but he has floundered in a big way.


That concludes our quarter season roundtable. We appreciate all of you and let’s go Rangers!



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  • I am more disappointed about the underlying stats than I am about the wins and losses. I mean, I look at the roster, and I think that they should be a lot better than they are, and in some categories, they cannot be worse.

    I feel like the “talent” on the team is good enough to make some noise this year, maybe get an 8th seed towards the playoffs. I think that just because we have young team does not mean that they automatically do not play well. Because the fact of the matter is that some of the very young players are better than the vets that continue to be rolled out there, though the Rangers’ FO finally seems to be waking up to this fact lately. We’ll see when Staal is healthy, what happens, to see if the FO goes back to the same ole sh-t.

    We have gone over the coaching, so I won’t go there again, but they have to be held accountable, and based on the talent on this team, they should be better in the play, forgetting about wins and losses.

    No surprise to me how good Panarin is, this is what I expected and why I thought he was a must sign.
    As for Trouba, I cannot help that he is a victim of coaching. He even made a comment himself that he never saw a defensive system like this. That’s a troubling comment.
    Most surprising, for me, is Fox. I knew he was going to be good, but he is off the charts good. Nice acquisition.
    I’m done with Skjei. I went from big fan to now wanting him gone. I can’t defend him any more and he can’t defend, period.
    Kakko is an elite talent, just great. And Chytil is not too far behind, IMO.
    Get Krav back here where he belongs.

    • I hear you Tony. I am perplexed by Skjei. It is at least possible the Skjei is a victim of coaching too? I can’t figure out the decline in his play. Is it that once he became the man instead of the man’s partner that he started to overthink the game, or is it that the system he finds himself trying to execute doesn’t make sense? We’ve all seen him play much, much better, so what might the problem be?

      • Peter, I hate to say it, but no, it’s not related to the coach relating to Brady. Brady has been bad since he signed that contract extension.

        I was at the Pens game and Brady had 3 beautiful centering passes. Unfortunately they were all in his own zone, and Georgie bailed him out each time.

        He’s not good, plain and simple. Shame, because he’s a good skater. I do not think that he has good hockey IQ.

    • They can’t get Krav back here, he was the one who decided to go. Mgmt. sent him where they saw fit for his development, and he refused to adhere to that assignment, went down pouted to the point of benching and then went home. Are you saying that JD should say, “…ok, ok Kravs, you win, if you come back we will let you play with the big club.”? Is that your contention?

      I’m of the mind that if he should come back at some point, he should and will spend some quality time in the AHL, just as a matter of point of who is the person in charge in this organization. Just in case you are not sure, the PIC is not an 18 yr. old cry baby who has never played a minute of NHL hockey.

      • The Rangers can recall him at any time.

        And here’s something that I did not know, the Rangers “loaned” him to the KHL for just this year. So if Krav decides that he does not come back here after his KHL season this year, he has to sit out playing hockey for the remainder of his ELC, which is 2 more years.

        So, basically, Krav has no choice but to come back here this year.

  • Like many other fans I expected this team to be better but they have been playing without Zib (probably their second best player) for quite a while now. I see three strong lines with the likes of Panarin, Strome, Zibanejad, Buchnevich, Kakko, Chytil, Kreider, & Lemieux, The fill in guys like Fast and McKegg are physical, hard working and not at all a liability. Now with Gettinger added they might even be stronger. The problem is simply that the TEAM D needs to improve. I still believe that the Rangers can pull off a wining season but don’t expect miracles on Wednesday against the Capitals. Those guys are big strong, mean and can score. As for the defnse team they need to play more two way hockey as well and lets not blame Staal. Since he’s has been out, the team hasn’t been winning

    • “Those guys are big strong, mean” BAHHHH

      Listen up, the Rangers can beat any team in the league on any given night “.”
      It’s starts in net, either of our goalies can get in there and play lights out tonight! the team needs to play the way they can, fast, smart hockey. control the middle of the ice! STAY AWAY from the box! Forecheck and get on top right away!

      “Those guys are big strong, mean” – theres not one player on this team that fears the caps like you do!


      it starts tonight, after a bad road trip, back home, beat the best and get the locker room up baby!
      We may get Kappo and or Zib back too!

      “Those guys are big strong, mean” LETS GO BABY!!!

  • In my opinion, we still have too many question marks on this current roster to be a playoff team this year….my biggest concerns are still defensively .

  • In no particular order:
    Pleasant surprises:
    -Tony D
    -Panarin (knew he was good, but not this good)

    Unpleasant surprises:
    -Trouba (started strong but has faltered since)
    -Lemieux (was expecting more progression)

  • 8-8-2

    hmmm, Zib is needed but the team stepped it up in his absence. some of the defensive players should hide in shame.
    really great to see several of the young players play but sad knowing the king is making is final appearances somewhat.
    but the talk and play of Igor has got me a little pumped, can’t wait to see him learn from ben ‘the gifted one’.

    overall I like where it’s going … the team could have been higher in the standings to date but I don’t expect them to be a PO so I’m good….

    I feel better than NJ & TB fans at this point. LMAO


  • Forgive me if this posts twice. The first try didn’t load apparently.

    Pleasant Surprises (random order)
    -Tony D
    -Panarin (Knew he was good, but not this good)

    Unpleasant Surprises:
    -Lemieux (was expecting more progression)

  • I am happy overall at the progress made thus far this season. That doesn’t mean that there are no areas where they need some improvement, but I am not disappointed in their play. I expected the team to be inconsistent because they are running out there a bunch of players who are rookies and players 21 or younger.

    Team defense, not ‘the defense’ is the major area of concern. For me, it goes back to the system more than the personnel. I think they are better overall without Marc Staal on D, but the system they play where they collapse and allow relatively easy zone entries by the other team bugs the hell out of me. I feel it puts the defensemen and the team in general back on their heels. I’d like to see that changed.

    I hope that Lias tears it up in Hartford and deserves a call up. I’d like to see Kravstov come back too. I’d like Marc Staal to retire but I don’t think it will happen. Most of all, I want to see Mika Zibanejad healthy again.

  • I’m with you Walt my friend, Hockey talk!!

    Personally I thought we’d be an inconsistent team and we are exactly that. As I said in a past post, we are not as bad as our worse losses nor are we as good as our wins against better teams.

    I’m enjoying watching this team. Win or lose, I’m watching them grow. The rebuild is starting to take shape and we can see a good team blossom in the not to distant future. We have some real talent here. Some real good YOUNG talent who can mature, grow as a team. The Pack is an important part of our future and they are tearing up the AHL. First overall. From a couple of years ago where our talent pool was rated dead last or next to last, to one of the top three rated talent pools in the NHL. Damn, what a shocker, see what you can do when you don’t trade away 1st and 2nd round picks along with young promising talent for over-the-hill vets who for the most part are WAY past their contributing prime.

    Hey, there’s still work to be done and this roster is far from complete, far from being a real Cup contender. We will most likely lose Fast to the expansion draft and I personally do not think CK will be here after the trade deadline. We will have some young players due contracts and CK will get terms from other teams which are out of our reach. There are some other vets who will most likely be gone as well.

    Those of us who supported a rebuild should be very satisfied with our status, progress and projection as we move ahead.

    Sorry 94, although I respect your opinion, I didn’t think we’d make the playoffs this year. Next year a very different story.

    Win or lose, I’m just sitting back enjoying the games!

    • I couldn’t agree with this more: As I said in a past post, we are not as bad as our worse losses nor are we as good as our wins against better teams.

      Great comment, well said, Jerry!

    • “Sorry 94, although I respect your opinion, I didn’t think we’d make the playoffs this year.”


    • Jerry

      “Damn, what a shocker, see what you can do when you don’t trade away 1st and 2nd round picks along with young promising talent for over-the-hill vets who for the most part are WAY past their contributing prime”.

      Isn’t that what a number of us have been screaming for , for at least the last 5 years. I remember E3 and I would go round, and round on this subject, but he never seemed to agree with us. Hope he is well, haven’t heard from him in quite some time!!!!!!!

  • The thing that bothers me the most is the even strength possession and shot share. The Rangers do not spend enough time in the offensive zone which conversely (obviously) means they’re running around like the keystone cops in their own zone seemingly always chasing the puck. Panarin, bless his soul, is amazing at possession, Kreider is a big disappointment, Kakko is improving with each game, as is Chytil. Strome is ok but he is firmly aboard the Breadman’s coat tails. He should bring a decent draft pick at the deadline.

    I’m not sure how to fix the possession stats but a good back-checking by the forwards is a nice place to start.

  • Personally, I thought the first game against Florida (the 6-5 S/O loss) would be exactly how this team would play pretty much every game: enough offense to score, but still young enough defensively (and offensively?) to give up a lot of goals. That game was entertaining as hell though, minus not getting the win.

  • Panarain A+ (I can’t remember the last time we had someone of this skill level on the teams)
    Kakko A- (immediate impact!)
    TonyD A- (with Fox and plethora of RD prospects he will now bring back great value in trade; unreal skills)
    Fox A- (what a surprise)
    Gorgiev A- (his trade value keeps inching up)
    Lindgren A-/B+ (love his edge; nice having a solid D with puck moving skills)
    Hajek B+ (I think the system hurts him the most because of his skill set as pure defender)
    Strome B+ (trade value ‘panarin effect’ rather than relative to our expectations which would be higher; we might actually get a 3rd rounder back for him)
    Smith B+ (I think he has created enough value to get a portion of his contract off our books for a bag of pucks; Maybe Babcock brings him back for the playoffs)
    Trouba B (slow start and more D holes than I would have expected but should turn around with a couple coach/player departures)
    Skjei C (looks like hockey isn’t his priority Uggh!)
    Kreider C (his peak trade value was last year…hurry up JD and get a solid young 3rd line C that is good enough to be insurance for Lindros, I mean Mika (top 6))
    Howden C- (I just don’t get why he gets the minutes he does; I would include him in a trade where just a little more is needed to get over the line)

    Buch Jr (aka Anderson) TBD (must have taken DQ’s daughter on a date after pres season was over because nothing else explains why he didn’t get a legit chance with offensively capable players)

  • This team made MAJOR moves before the season. While we are a very young team, the additions of Panarin, Trouba and Kakko should (IMO) equate to another 12-15 points in the standings. I still think that is possible, but we need several players to step up. Skjei, and Staal come to mind. On the offensive side, Zibby, Buch and Krieder need to play better (or at least play in Zibbys case)

    The goalie play is as expected, but the defense, even with the pleasant addition of Fox are not doing the job. If we can cut down the shots on our goal, we can be a playoff team.

  • Rangers dont really play a style that will allow them to consistently cut down on the shots on their goal. That, to me, is the biggest disappointment so far this season. Coaching just hasn’t put a priority on quality neutral/D zone tactics.

  • I had high hopes this year, maybe to high. they should be playing better and more consistent but there not. we have talent, the defense has been horrible, vets are playing over the kids many nights. The FO better wake up the coaches too.`

  • We have played 18 games. Half of them without our best center and penalty killer. We are 6 points out of first place with 2 games in hand.

    We have several new players on the team learning how to play with each other, a process that can take half a season. The team is coming along slowly.

    The coaching has been mixed to decent so far. Some wins like several of the young players mentioned above and some misses like Lias who I don’t think is anything ore then a fringe NHL player.

    Kravtsov needs to grow up and Howden needs to work on his strength because he goes down too easily . He too has been disappointing.

    But CK has been the most disappointing. Had he been more consistent, and if Zibanejad was healthy, we would be at least 8 points better with two games in hand

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