Off day musings

57

Not surprisingly given Tom Renney’s admission last night that his team is “spent”, the coach gave the Rangers a day off today. The team certainly earned it in going the distance in these back-to-back wins.

The only minor concern is if they lose momentum before they play next in Florida on Friday. But frankly, that’s a concern whether they practiced today or not.

In other news:

<li>Sounds like “Rangers-Bruins is the leader in the clubhouse”:http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/ny-spstadium115609611mar11,0,7129769.story for the game next winter at Yankee Stadium (yes, that’s a golf metaphor when talking about a hockey game at a baseball stadium. It’s too much!), with one idea being a home-and-home shifting back to Fenway Park. I understand the concern that too many of these games would make the novelty wear off. But I, for one, don’t see once a season as overexposure.

<li>A lot of frustration with the officiating last night, not to mention my failure to address as much in my final post of evening. A couple of points on that: Yes, the officiating was suspect at best, particularly the goaltender interference call on Fred Sjostrom and the non-call on the punch from Andrew Peters on the Sabres bench to Colton Orr. But for one, the Rangers getting the short end of the calls is hardly a new phenomenon. And at that point in the evening, a win and a 13th consecutive point was more noteworthy.

Naturally if the Rangers lose, then the officiating is a huge part of the story.

<li>Finally, here’s the link to my story today on where “the Rangers choose to live and why”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080311/SPORTS01/803110382/-1/SPORTS&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL. The story evolved into something different over the past few days, but the interesting part to me is still how the dynamic has shifted over the past few years.

It used to be where almost all of the Rangers lived in Westchester (as a kid growing up in Rye, I saw guys around town all the time), and even as recently as last season, the breakdown of players in Manhattan versus the suburbs was roughly 50-50. Now an unofficial count of the roster has 17 players living in Manhattan and just six out here (Straka, Betts, Orr, Rozsival, Tyutin, and Malik).

This is a reflection of several changes: one, players make more money and they now can afford to live a good life in Manhattan; two, no longer a collection of graybeards, the Rangers actually now have more young single players who want to sample all the city has to offer. And finally, there is the fact that the team trusts players enough to let them live where they want.

Bear in mind, that was actually a concern at one point given the combination of New York’s many distractions and the hockey player’s reputations for cutting loose from time-to-time. This is not to say that players these days are all in bed in time for Jay Leno. The difference now is they may know there’s a lot more at stake.

“I think as I’ve gotten older the younger guys have become more and more responsible each year, and I think it goes back to colleges and juniors, jus being prepared better and knowing everyone’s under a microscope,” said Chris Drury, who while no longer single, lives in Manhattan with his wife and two kids. “It just seems like guys are better equipped to handle it. But any city, if you want trouble you can find it. It may be more in your face in New York, but there’s trouble in every city.”

Anyway, something to chew on while you count down the minutes until Friday…

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57 Comments

  1. Doodie wrote: “New Newman, I only got to watch the third and OT, and I didn’t see anything spectacular from Hank.”

    No, the game-saver on Afinegenov’s last minute breakaway from the Sabre blueline was routine. Piece of cake.

  2. longtimerangersfan on

    Yeah, Sam, you got beat up a little on the boards for not touching on the officiating…I sent a note to the NHL officials last night but I’m sure nothing will come of it.
    Hey, it’s DST…got to change your time.

  3. Molten Colton on

    is Colton Orr the best fighter in the NHL, and when did they legalize jacking dudes in the face, so long as you’re standing on the bench? Ever since Shanny had to fight Brashear last season, Colton Orr has been a beast

  4. Repost:

    Doodie you make a good point about OT. But your general berating of the team for various things on one day to the next has me convinced you are a glass-half-empty guy. That’s fine. Is what it is.

    Whomever keeps talking about Thomas Pock as a potential D-man on this team, I wish you’d just save your energy. I think Pock is decent. But he is probably 10th man on the depth list right now, at very best. And the fact that he passed waivers once with no one claiming him means that the rest of the NHL doesn’t think that much of him either. Give up on Pock please.

    When Mara gets back, I think Wally Backman takes a seat. Beer Me! gave him the benefit of the doubt and so did I, to be honest. But he is just more of a liability than anything else.

    This AM Brooks’ article mentioned that Hollweg and Prucha should get some ice time in FL to keep their legs fresh. I kinda agree with that. Then Brooks mentioned that he thought Dubi should sit because he is getting too cute with the puck or something? Did anyone catch that and what did you think? Curious.

    LGR.

  5. I bag this team as much as anyone, but considering their last two points lost were in shootouts against the Islanders and that debacle versus the Canadiens, it’s reasonable to consider that they’ve legitimately turned the corner on their season…and though I’m not ready to do cartwheels over the play of their defense, I will say that they’ve played very steadily the past month, and that Toots and G-Rad have been monsters…

  6. Dubi had some euro back passes just inside the opponents zone go for turnovers.

    sam nice article on where the players live.

    against Florida play Prucha instead of Orr!!! See if they can have 4 legit lines.

    Orr has improved as a player and fighter and is a real key part of the team.. the peters non call was terrible…

  7. For those on the last thread that wanted quotes from the team re: the officiating…(from zip’s article).

    “Far too many penalties tonight, that’s a function of being fatigued and not being on your toes and a refereeing crew that called it by the book,” Renney said.

    That’s all you guys get. Again, what did you want to hear. It is what it is. Bad.

    To change subjects for a minute, this is another article from Mr. Co-(fantasy)GM.

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/ny-sprnotes115609613mar11,0,3531035.story

  8. New Newman:

    I caught it and I think it’s partially true. He’s trying to make a few passes and plays he probably can’t make, instead of sticking to the gritty basics. But, I would say sitting him is overkill and a “keep it simple, drive the net, shoot if you can” would be enough. I don’t think a benching is what he needs, nor is it what Jagr or Avery need from him.

    That was a good game last night, but the rangers really need to get better at clearing the puck. They still turn it over more than they should in their own zone.

  9. These next 2 are a great chance to get some guys in the lineup.

    newman – I’m just about done with Backman for the season. Maybe the summer will help him adjust better. But he certainly is becoming a liability. So my final stance on it: Use him sparingly the rest of the way till 4/6. Then only for emergencies in the playoffs. Then he can compete for a top 6 spot in sept.

  10. totally off the subject of this thread but this is driving me crazy.

    i know we should be use to it by now but why is it that the rangers dont get spots on the post and the daily news back cover. they are the hottest team in hockey. the mets (spring training) and billy crystal get the back page. its so frustrating.

  11. longtimerangersfan on

    I haven’t hesitated to second guess Jagr all year but if he keeps playing like he has been, and apparently enjoying himself, he should be re-signed.

    New newman: “Whomever keeps talking about Thomas Pock as a potential D-man on this team, I wish you’d just save your energy. I think Pock is decent. But he is probably 10th man on the depth list right now, at very best. And the fact that he passed waivers once with no one claiming him means that the rest of the NHL doesn’t think that much of him either. Give up on Pock please.”

    I don’t think he had to clear waivers to go down to Hartford but only to return. Correct me if I’m wrong, guys. (Like you wouldn’t anyway) LOL

  12. Doodie Machetto on

    Reposts:

    Newman, It’s not a glass half-empty thing so much as just keeping my feet on the ground and looking at the big picture instead of fellating the team every time they get a point. I want perfection and so should they. Anybody who demands less, especially if they’re on the team, is settling for too little.

    Now, I understand they won’t be perfect, and I’m sure they do too. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong for me to ask of them to try for it, and in fact, that’s exactly what I expect them to aspire for.

    As for Pock, passing through waivers means nothing. It is reetnry waivers that would determine if any team had an interest. I guarantee you that if he went through reenetry waivers that he would be claimed. Same for Hutch.

    But the fact is, with Mara down, they needed help on the right side, not the left, which is where Pock plays. So even if they did want to recall someone from Hartford, and there were no reentry waivers, it wouldn’t have been him because he plays the other side of the ice.

    Two last things:

    1) If I’m Pock, I demand a trade during the summer.

    2) I disagree with Brooks’ article without getting to the merits. Sitting Dubinsky for Prucha or Hollweg makes no sense since Dubinsky plays center and those guys are wings. As for whether he has been too cute, I didn’t see it in any game leading up to the game last night, and I didn’t get to watch too much of last nights game so if he’s doing that, it was last night only.

  13. longtimerangersfan on

    joejoe…The NHL is the “Red Headed Stepchild” of American sports so get used to it!

  14. DOODIE wrote:

    “Newman, It’s not a glass half-empty thing so much as just keeping my feet on the ground and looking at the big picture instead of fellating the team every time they get a point. I want perfection and so should they. Anybody who demands less, especially if they’re on the team, is settling for too little.

    Now, I understand they won’t be perfect, and I’m sure they do too. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong for me to ask of them to try for it, and in fact, that’s exactly what I expect them to aspire for.”

    And goddamn do I love it

  15. That was one fugly ass game no flow completely incompete refs(Buttman will reward them by having them work the Finals) The Rangers forwards with a few exceptions(Dawes and Gomez) were pretty off kilter. The forwards were going backwards not forward with the puck. The Jagr line seemed to have lost alot of the chemistry they had shown lately. Instead of going straight forward with the puck they werre trying to be too cutesy and forcing pucks to areas of the ice. They did however get a goal off a tremendous forecheck and hit by Avery and Jags going to the net. The refs really killed the flow of the game. To say their were more than a few ridiculosly ticky tac calls would be an understatement. The Rangers pk unit was tremendous. They kept the Sabres to the outside and when the Sabres did get good chances Hank was there(that Save on Vanek was sick. I though Girardi and Staal had rough game. Girardi was turnover prone and Staal was soft on the puck. Tyutin was by far the best dman last night. While the Drury line had a quiet game 5 on 5 they were all tremendous on the pk. The penalty on Sjostrom was bad enough(it lead to a tying goal) but the non call on Peter copuldn’t be more absurd. Orr did nothing wrong except finishing his check. The late third period and ot was far most entetaining part of the game(Dawes hitting the post and Hank robbing Afigenov) The Rangers could really use the three 3 off to get their sea legs back under them espicially their olxder players. It says alot that though they weren’t on top of their game far from it they won both games.

  16. Doodie Machetto on

    Bathgate, First of all, Afinogenov couldn’t put the puck in the ocean right now. Second of all, his move was lame and he shot it right into Hank. Both shootout saves were harder than that.

    Also, the first goal, you can’t fault Hank too much because of how the play developed, but the goal itself? Pominville didn’t even lift the puck. Hank just didnt’t close down the bottom of the net, despite that he has in position to do so. He didn’t get his leg to the post. a Goaltender HAS to get anything low when moving post to post. He didn’t.

  17. longtimerangersfan on

    Joejoe:

    Why, because he’s agreeing with something that makes a lot of sense?

  18. I agree with Joe Joe. Despite the NHL being the “Red-Headed Stepchild” nationally, it has an extremely strong following in New York. The Rangers are a major part of this city’s sports scene. No, they don’t match the Giants or Yankees, but they’re certainly more popular than the Knicks (the local ratings are about equal for the two teams, which is very unusual, and obviously a function of the Knicks being TERRIBLE, but still).

    I was a journalism major in college and I studied sports journalism/media pretty extensively. Putting Billy Crystal and Mets Spring Training on the back page goes against proper news instincts. Clearly the Rangers are playing the most meaningful games in this city…and aren’t sports supposed to be about the games?!?!

    At least when they’re in the playoffs they’ll make the back page…maybe…right?

  19. To Drury’s point, I saw Dawes and Staal out after the game on Tues night against the Isles with dates eating nachos and drinking soda.

  20. sam, you’ve been called out on the blueshirt bulletin! haha. although this does come after you yourself drew attention to that very statement.

  21. JOEJOE: check out the email i wrote my buddy when I got into work today:

    “I Obviously love the yanks, but dont u think its a little ridiculous that the rangers never make the front sports page. like they mention joba having a good game which is awesome, but it is also spring training. the rangers have been so hot climbing up the standings like crazy, and the post instead mentions how the nets got blown out. the rangers are always like the last article in sports. i understand hockey isnt the most popular sport, but when there are multiple pages for the mets and yanks in spring training, and the rangers get not even a full page all the way in the end of sports, it kind of pisses me off”

  22. maybe if they pushed it a little more people would actually wanna watch it. i go to almost every home game and we all know they are sold out. ok so its not the favorite sport of NY but its not like no one cares. ahhh it drives me crazy they dont even get a top corner i think the last time they got a piece of the paper was after leetch night

  23. I totally agree. Same, I have only missed few home games this year and when I have taken friends, no matter who they are, they are always amazed with the intensity in the garden at games, especially the last couple now that the Rangers are down the stretch. I honestly do not care if the nets get blown out, ITS A NY PAPER!!

  24. then there is the radio thats just as bad. i have to listen to hockey night in canada to just listen to a 10 minute spot about the rangers.

  25. If Mara had not been injured, I wonder if he, rather than a #4 draft pick, would have been traded? I think the team is more committed to Backman for now and into the future, than to Mara. If Mara does replace Backman, he will play himself back up to the press box in short order, so derelict is his all-around game. Backman is the lesser of two evils, with possibly an upside, which Mara assuredly lacks.

  26. i’m glad somebody else mentioned the play of dubi these last few games. since the isles game at msg where he got blasted once in mid-ice and later in the game hard against the boards he has not looked the same. he’s been kind of reckless with the puck and the line has seen its chemistry lost. he seems like he’s moving ok but his decisions haven’t been as smart and he’s been knocked off the puck pretty easily the last two games. maybe this rest until florida will help. and what’s really important about his play is it seems to make that line go. once that line goes it becomes impossible for teams to match our first three lines defensively over the course of 60 minutes.

    this morning on home ice 204 on xm potvin was talking about the rangers and had very little good to say about them. his thing was talking about the rangers are winning, yeah, but the big guys aren’t doing anything to make it happen so they’re bound to fall. what moronic logic. we’re winning despite getting production from jags (which i think is what everybody means when they say that, b/c many have said it all throughout the year, including us posters!)and imagine what happens if we ever start to get some scoring from the capt. we lost games like the last few all during the first half. it’s key we’re winning them now. he also said a loss would be a good thing to bring them down to earth. he thinks they’re not as good as they’re playing. wow! potvin has something negative to say about the rangers. now that should be on the back sports page of the news or post;-). sorry for even giving credence or space to that putz, but anybody raggin’ on my rangers is gonna get a potvin sucks from me next tuesday (my first one too!)

  27. Tough schedule out there in re: to the east standings the next 3 days. Please NO OT!!

    I hate ESPN, but without them, the NHL will not get the exposure it needs.

    Dubi’s play…hasn’t been horrible. Did you expect it to stay at that level? Just like Avery. They’re not point-a-game guys. Good players, but not ‘tier 1′ (ovy,malkin,iginla,etc.) Don’t make too much of it.

  28. “No Jonny, I could possible see that Dawes shove as a penalty, but other teams do that and much worse to us and rarely get called.”

    I agree, but it was done in the offensive zone so they call that a lot. If it was in the D-zone I think it might’ve been let go.

    I don’t think he had to clear waivers to go down to Hartford but only to return. Correct me if I’m wrong, guys. (Like you wouldn’t anyway) LOL

    When you have a one way contract like Pock received last season, you always have to clear waivers to go down to the minors, get cut, or come back up from the minors. What was surprising was that nobody picked up Pock when he was sent down. But it makes sense because if we bring him up now and a team claims him off waivers, then they only pay half of his remaining salary with us eating the other half.

  29. he thinks they’re not as good as they’re playing

    ……..

    is this such an absurd thought? theyve sure got somthing good going, but to call them “the hottest team in the league” i think a stretch… they are not smoking teams that a “team on fire” would be smoking. This whole season I’v enot given them the beneit of the doubt, because they have not earne dit as a whole. Slowly, a handful of players have started to come around as individual contributors, but as a team, I’m yet to feel comfortable with them as a playoff contender. The sense of urgency is there, but the cut-throat mentality is not.

  30. I agree. To be a serious contender, we need to have the big guns scoring consistently, the D tighten up a little bit, and Lundqvist staying on his game. If that happens, I will feel comfortable. I think if anything right now, the team is a little too relaxed maybe because they have been winning. They definitely need to step it up a level. Dont get me wrong, I am happy with their recent performance, but they need to do this before we (or I) consider them a contender.

  31. “The sense of urgency is there, but the cut-throat mentality is not.”

    It’ll come Salty. Don’t worry. Look how long it took people here to believe that this team could make the playoffs, let alone grab home-ice for at least a round.

    They’re getting there. Just in time.

  32. Does anyone else on this board feel bad for Peter Prucha? I feel like he has gotten a bad rap. The guy starts out on this team playing with the likes of Jagr, getting a ton of PP time, being on the ice in key situations, participating in the shootout, etc. I feel like he fell from grace VERY quickly (most especially in Renney’s eyes). He’s a 3rd liner now, well, when he’s in the lineup. He plays with guys who really aren’t scorers. He’s just fallen down to a place where I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to get up (in a NY Rangers uniform anyway).

    I think the Rangers really needed to deal him. I happen to think he has a lot of talent. He’s already proven it to us in the past. I think he’d really prosper with a team like Montreal.

    sincerely,

    Peter Prucha

    Just kidding. What do you all think of Prucha?

  33. Doodie Machetto on

    Guys. I would tell you to close your eyes to imagine this but then you wouldnt be able to read it, but I digress.

    Imagine this. The team, as a whole, plays exactly as it has been for the majority of the last 13 games. Next, picture Hank being as sharp as he was in the Boston game, far and away his best game of the season. Then, picture Jagr ripping the puck, dominating the play, scoring as many points as he did in his first year after the lockout or down the stretch last year. In other words, the imagine the team playing to its full potential. Oh man. It’s so sweet.

    Well, the team has been playing that well. Hank seems to be turning that corner. Two of the pieces are set. If only Jagr could turn the clock back by one year. I’d make us the favorites in the east.

  34. Doodie Machetto on

    Tony, I think he can still recover and discover that form. The team didn’t deal him because they are looking ahead to when they lose up to 4 wings next season (Jagr, Straka, Shanahan, and Avery). To give away a player who scored 30 and 20 goals would be assinine.

    That said, Renney systematically destroyed the kid’s confidence. Whether he can come back to top form is debatable, but I think in the right environment, he can. And I think that environment could be New York, when the way is paved for him to play solid offensive-minded minutes.

    I still think that 2 weeks in Hartford is a good idea for him, although Sam has said that Renney has decided against it.

  35. Tony, i’m in agreement with you about Prucha. He deserves to play. It’s really a shame that an injury has taken him out of the lineup. He’s proven that, when given the ice and powerplay time, he can score goals.

    Trading him would be a mistake in my opinion. With guys like Straka, Shanahan, and maybe Avery gone after this season a spot on the top 2 lines may open up next season.

    At this point Renney doesn’t want to mess up what’s been working and I can’t blame him for that. However, that doesn’t mean that Prucha can’t play some 4th line minutes these last few weeks of the season to get his game back in gear. One injury and he would be thrown back in with little game action in the last month. Come playoff time Orr should sit and Prucha should take his spot.

  36. “At this point Renney doesn’t want to mess up what’s been working and I can’t blame him for that.” … “Come playoff time Orr should sit and Prucha should take his spot.”

    Rob L – I’m not picking on you or anything, really(b/c I usually agree w/ you). But if you put those two thoughts in the same paragraph, it just doesn’t add up.

    I too, see LESS of a need for Orr in the playoffs, but I still think the guys on the bench are more comfortable with him there. Thus, my opinion to keep the forwards as is. It took a looooong time to get them all going. I can’t see changing anything unless for injury.

    I don’t think Prucha’s confidence is shot. I also think that he’s got an extemely good shot at taking Straka’s place next year should he retire. My last thought on the Prucha situation, is that not every decision with him is left to Renney. Management has a say in all player personel dealings.

  37. Western Canada Survivor on

    As we talk about who should sit, who is playing better, etc…I want to throw something else into the ring. How about Colton Orr turning into one of the best fighters in the league? For the first half of last year he looked like a friggin joke, flailing, falling down, pathetic.

    Now, I don’t think I’ve seen him lose a fight in over a year. He destroyed Peters last night (one of the league’s best) and just annihilates people. He already had sold me when he concussed Fedoruk last year, but man I’ve been impressed. It’s such an asset to have such a heavyweight on the team (see Kocur, Kypreos, Langdon, etc…)

  38. I don’t think it’s feasible to expect perfection 82 times a year. The NHL is a tough place to be perfect all the time. Just look at the Red Wings. It’s more important to step up when necessary and sometimes grit out wins even when you play poorly. That’s what good teams do and that what the Rangers are doing.

    As far as Prucha goes I’m not big on him. I think Sjustrom has far more upswing. You have to watch Prucha with one eye closed to miss the train wreck when he gets leveled.

    And a note on the posters regarding the NY news papers. I actually stopped following the Yankess because they are constantly all over the paper. I’m tired of hearing about whenever Derek Jeter farts, yet when the Rangers win a big game we barely get an article.

  39. Rob. L- if Prucha is a top 6 forward next year the Rangers can forget the Cup. He’s a 3rd liner at best. He’s got good offensive capability but he’s too small and weak.

  40. If there were ONLY 1 wing to fill next year and it was between Prucha and Byers, who would you put there? ONLY those 2 guys.

    My vote is for Byers. Relatively productive year in the A. And anytime your name and Holmstrom is mentioned in the same sentence, it’s a good thing. And my type of player.

    Unless that sentence is “Holmstrom flattens Byers”.

  41. Doodie Machetto on

    “Now, I don’t think I’ve seen him lose a fight in over a year.”

    Laraque and Parros both have beaten him within the past year. But I agree, he has gotten a lot better since first cracking the lineup here.

    Beer Me, funny stuff on the Holmstrom thing.

  42. The refs were pathetic last night. But the most BS was Peters. Peters threw a punch, but Orr threw back, even though it was a push, so they both get minors a piece, but the BS part about it is Mair also threw a shot from the bench, and they never called that. We should have gotten a PP but the way the refs were calling it, that wasn’t happening.

    What a great game, i love it when the refs try to screw us out of it, but we manage to brawl for the win.

    As for Orr, i want him in the lineup in the playoffs. We need him there, not Hollweg. Im kinda hoping Straka retires, so Pruchs can take that spot. Im glad the team didn’t give up on him yet. He’s just having a bad year, and Renney is to blame for all of it. That’s what happens when you put a 30 goal scorer on a line with an enforcer. You take a shit on his confidence, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

    Either way that was a big win last night, but the next two games are MUST WIN GAMES. This is the last time we’ll be up against two crappy teams like the Cats, and Bolts. If Nyr doesn’t win, its gonna be bad. We gotta take advantage of these shitty teams.

  43. Western Canada Survivor on

    All I’m saying is that compared to first half of last year, Orr has come into his own-Laraque and Parros aside. And yes, we need him in the lineup in the playoffs-now that they only have 8 shifts a night, the 4th line has been productive.

  44. Beer Me, while my argument does seem to contradict itself, I think a small change like Prucha for Orr would improve the speed and scoring ability on the 4th line. Do you think taking Orr out of the lineup would really screw up the chemistry that much? I’m not going to lose sleep over it but I just don’t like to see a 25 year old with his kind of ability sitting in the press box.

  45. Doodie Machetto on

    Colton, you’re pretty biased in favor of Orr. But the truth is, he lost both. He wasn’t KO’d or anything, but the loser just the same.

    WCS, I wasn’t disagreeing with you there. I used to rag on him because he started as a pretty shitty fighter, and between he and Hollweg, we didn’t have a chance once the gloves were dropped. But he has improved not only his fighting, but his skating as well. I definitely prefer him in the lineup for every single game. Especially in the playoffs, where things can get pretty chippy.

  46. If you asked me about Orr and Hollweg a year ago I would have said that Hollweg had WAY more upside to his game. In fact I really thought that he would get to the point where he netted 5 or 6 goals a year. I thought Orr was pretty useless…

    This brings us up to present day and I feel like Hollweg is at the exact same spot if not weaker and Orr has improved his game DRAMATICALLY. He makes things happen now. I’m quite happy with him in the lineup.

  47. Doodie Machetto on

    Rob, I think it would affect the chemistry a lot once the other team started running our guys knowing that we had no way to respond.

  48. I’d give Marty Straka a break for a few games and stick Prucha in just to keep him game ready, Straka goes back in after a week off.

  49. nice story sam,

    i’ve seen renney here in ossining, he like the coffee from 7-11. its right up the hill from his crib.

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