Five things: Guesswork

Ryan Lambert
July 19 2012 07:30AM

1. Nothing happening

Apart from introducing Roman Cervenka yesterday, and revealing that the organization considers him a center for some reason, and also admitting that they're closing in on the 50-contract limit for some reason I can't understand, the Flames have absolutely nothing going on. It's all very quiet.

That is probably a good thing. Not that the team has much wiggle-room to go out and sign anyone anyway, but after the contracts to you-know-who on defense and you-also-know-who up front I'm not exactly eager to go out there and pursue any more free agents.

Our own Ryan Pike did note that the Flames were waiting for other teams to start trading (perhaps as a means of offloading Jay Bouwmeester or, more optimistically, either or both of Anton Babchuk and Matt Stajan (not that I'm holding out hope)), which one suspects is being delayed by two things.

a) The Shane Doan and Alex Semin sagas

Neither is signed. Neither appears to be close to signing any time soon. Word is it could take Doan another few weeks at least to make up his mind. As for Semin, well, who knows if he'll even sign here. But both would command sizeable salaries and therefore teams cannot go around shuffling the deck chairs by taking on Calgary's — or indeed, anyone else's — bad contracts just yet. Deadspin had a thing the other day saying Doan has been linked with something like two dozen NHL teams. Even if only half or so have their Doan Dollars hypothetically committed, spoken-for at the very least, and that's going to gum up the works.

b) Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan

One imagines that the glut of teams rumored to be in discussions for these players might be more active trade participants when they eventually lose out on them. Only two teams are going to get them in the end, and given the sheer number of teams involved in those talks to varying degrees, that's another thing that will only hold up a broader trade market for similar reasons.

2. But...

When — if? — these dams break, Calgary will likely be active again, though being so close to the NHL contract limit, coupled with Feaster's expressed desire to lose between two and three deals before the start of the season, one has to wonder what the approach is. Obviously they'll be looking to get little more than a draft pick, probably a late one, from someone dumb enough to take Stajan or Babchuk off their hands, but one wonders how they might approach a hypothetical Bouwmeester deal.

Now granted, it's been said repeatedly that the organization would be perfectly fine entering next season with Bouwmeester still on the roster, but the rumors persist and at some point, fire must logically follow all this smoke. It was less than a week ago, after all, that the Fourth Period reported St. Louis, Detroit, Philadelphia and Carolina all had interest.

But for much of that, we must return to Nash and Ryan. St. Louis has no reported connection to either, but all have been connected with at leat one, and in Philadelphia's case, both. Further, Detroit was reported to be in a holding pattern until Doan makes his decision.

Obviously Feaster couldn't go around asking for Nash- or Ryan-sized returns for Bouwmeester. The asked-for return for Nash has been better-publicized than that for Ryan, but a combination of young NHLers, high-quality prospects and maybe picks seems likely for either.

3. Which means...

As long as I'm unabashedly offering nothing but conjecture, let's keep in mind the team's newly-stated desire to shed contracts. It seems unlikely, unless Bouwmeester is packaged with someone (Mikael Backlund, as was rumored weeks ago?), that the Flames would be looking to take on NHL-level talent at any position unless it was a bowl-over type of offer, which it probably wouldn't be.

So, picks and prospects, then? Or are we still all pretending this isn't a blowup?

I don't know. Again, this is just me thinking about the team out loud since they're not giving me anything else to talk about. Think Bouwmeester gets dealt? What would you hope for the return, especially given the team's current contract-limit situation?

4. Nice to see

Yesterday the NHL owners and Players' Association wrapped another negotiation session yesterday.

Despite all the hellfire and brimstone rained on the owners by various members of the press who have a particularly large axe to grind against ownership (and I don't really blame them; I'm just baffled by the ferocity with which they did it), the players seemed pretty level-headed about the whole thing, and said negotiations haven't even been contentious.

They told reporters after that they knew the proposal, deemed a "Declaration of War" by Larry Brooks, was part of what would be a long process. Sure the original offer was insulting, and it was designed to be, but that's, like, how negotiations of things like this pretty much work. No need to get hysterical.

5. Speaking of CBA posturing...

The Sharks are saying they lost $15 million last season despite selling every ticket to every one of their 41 home dates, and, presumably, two home dates. Never mind the unnecessarily provocative "Should Sharks owners be allowed to profit?" headline.

Oh and by the way, Sharks ticket prices are going up 6.5 percent on average next season.

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Chris
July 19 2012, 10:35AM
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For all those who want to trade Bouwmeester, here's our chance.

Trade him and some other assets to Nashville for Weber's rights. (He won't come cheap, assuredly.) Then match Philly's offer sheet. We'll have locked up someone who's expected to be one of the top 5 defencemen in his generation, for his entire career.

A risk, yes. But you don't win the Cup without taking risks like this -- something many other GMs are willing to do.

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#2 Kent Wilson
July 19 2012, 07:39AM
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If the Sharks aren't profitable, I'll eat my shoe.

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#3 Mamie Jacouns Love Child
July 19 2012, 07:42AM
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Ill second that position..

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#4 Michael
July 19 2012, 08:56AM
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The Flames are really weak down the middle, so we let Jokinen walk, and we sign two wingers as replacements; Hudler and Cervenka? I'm not against letting Jokinen walk (although he seemed to end up with a fairly reasonalbe two year deal), but had assumed that Cervenka was a natural center...

Yes, we can play wingers out of their natural position, but you traditionally lose something when you do. Ultimately someone has to play hard minutes at center on the first and second lines, so we seem to be taking a huge gamble down the middle.

JBo, I still think he's gone this year, we may have to wait for the trade deadline, but I really expect him to be gone before the start of the season. The return, nothing huge, except for the owners paying one less salary. Don't see anyone taking Babchuk or Stajan, and I'm not willing to give up draft picks to 'sweeten' the trade.

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#5 Luc
July 19 2012, 09:16AM
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It's scary to think that if management wants to get rid of a contract, that they go after the one non-replaceable player on the friggen team.

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#6 Kent Wilson
July 19 2012, 09:34AM
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Flames also may be looking to peddle contracts like Babchuk and Stajan to teams who are looking to hit the cap floor. Issue being with the CBA in contention, nobody really knows that's going to be.

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#7 FireOnIce
July 19 2012, 09:42AM
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"One imagines that the glut of teams rumored to be in discussions for these players"

Glut of teams? It sounds like the same 5 or 6 teams over and over again. NYR, Detroit, San Jose, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia. Over and over. They all want Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan.

Everyone wants Doaner. No one wants Semin.

Also, Weber signs offer sheet with Flyers. Billion dollars for a billion years. Predators screwed (no forwards of note, no D-men of note, Rinna is going to endure a trial by fire).

Perhaps Bouwmeester to Nashville for... I don't know. Do they have anything worthwhile? JBO + Stajan for McGrattan or Radulov.

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#8 Steve
July 19 2012, 09:56AM
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I was looking at this yesterday. Preds have a lot of young D, but probably badly in need of big minutes. Would they part with an Ellis, Josi, Eckholm in some kind of a package for JBo? That's a big weakness with the Flames. D prospects that could be entering their prime in about 3 years when a pretty good stable of forwards could be stepping up.

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#9 cLyde
July 19 2012, 10:00AM
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I really feel that people are under estimating what we should and possibly will get for Bouwmeester. He is quite possibly exactly what a team like the the Flyers( assuming the Weber offer is matched) and Pens need to push them to the top. His skating, durability, fitness and shut down ability are top notch. I also have a feeling that his offense would improve a little playing with Crosby or Giroux.

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#10 Kevin R
July 19 2012, 10:04AM
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@FireonIce: If Nashville lose Weber, I would think a contract like JBO's wouldnt phase them, seeing they have the most cap space avail. Problem is, do they have any 1st rounders left? 2013 or 2014 would be good 1st rounder from them. Maybe we can get a 2013 2nd & 2014 1st & a good prospect(Ellis) for JBO & Stajan. I know, Im dreaming.

Wonder if that Luke Adam from Buffalo can be had for a lot cheaper, he was the kid I was hoping to get in that Regehr deal. I think he dropped dramatically on the Buffalo depth chart with Grigerenko & Jirgensons in the fold.

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#11 Bean-counting cowboy
July 19 2012, 10:12AM
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Interesting thing now is that Weber is going to only one of two teams. That means other teams hoping to get in on Weber could now pursue interest in Bouwmeester sooner rather than later. Unless of course these same teams are still trying to land one of the star forwards rumored to be available by trade.

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#12 cLyde
July 19 2012, 10:21AM
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Kevin R wrote:

@FireonIce: If Nashville lose Weber, I would think a contract like JBO's wouldnt phase them, seeing they have the most cap space avail. Problem is, do they have any 1st rounders left? 2013 or 2014 would be good 1st rounder from them. Maybe we can get a 2013 2nd & 2014 1st & a good prospect(Ellis) for JBO & Stajan. I know, Im dreaming.

Wonder if that Luke Adam from Buffalo can be had for a lot cheaper, he was the kid I was hoping to get in that Regehr deal. I think he dropped dramatically on the Buffalo depth chart with Grigerenko & Jirgensons in the fold.

I don't think that type of return is unreasonable considering the need for a quality top 2 defenseman by many teams.

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#13 Subz
July 19 2012, 10:37AM
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Luke Adam is certainly an interesting prospect along with the two centre’s drafted this year by buffalo, and the addition of Hodgson there seems to be a number of big young centre’s in their system. With Leino signed for a while I would figure something has to give, or otherwise one of these guys is playing 4th line ?

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#14 Kent Wilson
July 19 2012, 10:54AM
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@Chris

Heh, now that's a creative notion for sure.

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#15 FireOnIce
July 19 2012, 11:04AM
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@Kevin R - Nashville will have at least 2 more 1st rounders and possible 4 more, depending on the salary structure. It's starting to look like Holmgren made sure they won't be giving away 4 1sts based on the way Weber is being paid ($1M base salary + $13M in bonuses the first four years).

@Chris - That's a bold move. However, if the Flames weren't in on negotiations for him before, what makes you think they would be now?

It disheartens me that every time I see an article about the teams in on Nash, Ryan, and Weber, the Flames are never one of them. The same 5 or 6 teams (NYR, Pitts, etc.) want these guys. Feaster probably called the GMs of these players and was laughed off the line when he offered Babchuk, Stajan, and JBo for these big names.

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#16 suba steve
July 19 2012, 11:22AM
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What is the compensation to Nashville if they don't match the Weber offer? I'm thinking it is significant, so for them to forego that and take JBo, the Flames would have to sweeten the pot significantly I would think. Could still work, but may cost some future 1st rounders.

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#17 T&A4Flames
July 19 2012, 11:25AM
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@ FireOnIce

I wouldn't worry too much about the Flames not being mentioned in these potential aquisitions to often. I don't think they operate that way. Feaster and his crew seem a little more low key in their dealings. Did anyone hear anything about the Flames and Wideman? I know I was caught off gaurd when it went down and I am a little addicted to hockey happenings especially as they pertain to the Flames.

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#18 Kent Wilson
July 19 2012, 11:26AM
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@suba steve

Four first round picks.

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#19 T&A4Flames
July 19 2012, 11:29AM
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@ suba steve

I believe the compensation is 4 1st rounders. Which, in this case, would likely be 4 low (#20 or lower) picks over the next 4 years. I don't that is that significant for a player of Weber's calibre unless NSH is looking to rebuild. They may just be interested in aquiring a solid roster player or 2 instead to remain competitive, IMO. ,

Beat me to it Kent

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#20 RexLibris
July 19 2012, 11:33AM
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@Kent

There might be restrictions placed on the movement of an offer-sheeted player that would prevent that move.

I'm not certain, but is seems slightly too large a loophole for even the NHL and PA to miss.

@FireOnIce

I don't know all the ins and outs of the offer sheet compensation structure, but I have to think that it is based on the annual average of salary cap hit over the lifetime of the contract. Hommlgren might be trying something to see if he can reduce the cost on his end, but in the end I suspect that the NHL would probably rule that four 1st round picks is the appropriate compensation. They have been more diligent in enforcing the spirit of the CBA the past few years (Kovalchuk) as well as the letter.

My thoughts on whether Poile should match are over on the comments of Ryan Pike's last article (Flames news and Cervenka introduction). Let Weber walk.

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#21 RexLibris
July 19 2012, 11:36AM
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@T&A4Flames and FireOnIce

The reason, I think, that the Flames aren't usually mentioned in the Nash or Ryan trade rumours is that, regardless of Feaster's inquiries, they simply do not have the assets to give. They don't have veterans they are willing or able to trade, and they don't yet have the prospects or even many of the picks, that would be asked for.

If Feaster were trading away Bobby Ryan, what would the Flames want in return? Do the Flames currently have that level of number of assets to offer for that hypothetical price?

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#22 suba steve
July 19 2012, 11:42AM
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Can you trade rights to an unsigned RFA? Weber is a free agent currently. Already established that Nash. can't sign then trade Weber.

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#23 dick
July 19 2012, 11:48AM
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I have to assume that all the guys out there anxious to get rid of JBo are thinking without him the defense would be just fine. Instead of Babchuck sitting in the press box he would now get to play now that is a move in the right direction-- right? If you trade JBo and not get a good replacement on defense I think you are going backwards. If you do that why would you just trade one d man for another? No matter how you cut it, unless you have someone to step up and take on jay's 25 minutes per night I can't see the logic in moving him out. If the Flames had real depth at D ready to step in now then I could see the logic, but the way they are structured now it doesn't make sense to me.

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#24 Steve
July 19 2012, 12:06PM
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@dick

I don't think one player has to step in and pick up 25 minutes. We've already added Wideman, and Gio can play more tough minutes. We need to start putting Brodie into some tougher minutes too. JBo might play a lot of minutes and play 'reasonably' well, but he's still not elite. He's not irreplaceable. I'd rather see a d-man tougher to play against that maybe plays fewer minutes.

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#25 Justin
July 19 2012, 12:40PM
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Im sure it's been said already but lets put it out there again; JBo to St. Louis for Rattie.

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#26 dick
July 19 2012, 12:54PM
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Steve wrote:

@dick

I don't think one player has to step in and pick up 25 minutes. We've already added Wideman, and Gio can play more tough minutes. We need to start putting Brodie into some tougher minutes too. JBo might play a lot of minutes and play 'reasonably' well, but he's still not elite. He's not irreplaceable. I'd rather see a d-man tougher to play against that maybe plays fewer minutes.

I agree you don't have to rely on one guy to pick up the 25 minutes, but Gio is already playing close to his max. Brodie certainly can take on a little more BUT mostly in offensive situations. If you have watched Wideman at all you will know the same goes for him.He is not a guy you want killing penalties or out against the other teams top forwards. So that leaves Sarich, and Butler, and then you have to add either Smith or Babchuk to replace Bo in the lineup. Based on that I think you would be fine in offensive situations, but in real trouble when you need to shut things down. I'm not saying that Bo is the ultimate shut down guy, but with what we have right now that defense is one heck of lot better with him there than without him, especially in defensive situations. I'd also like to see a d-man tougher to play against- just wondering who you think that is? Certainly not anyone in the system.

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#27 T&A4Flames
July 19 2012, 01:15PM
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@ Rex

I don't know if that train of thought is realistic. ANA needs are different than ours. What are they looking for in a return? Do they want vets, kids, prospects, picks or a combination? Role reversal, what would Feaster want? Something that keeps him competitive now and improves us later. It's been said ANA wants depth in it's top 6 and possibly a 2nd line C. Also, I couldn't speak for how they would value certain players from other teams. Is $ a major issue?

How would they value Cammi, Backs and Byron or something similar; perhaps Nemisz?

I do agree that more than likely we are not involved in a possible Ryan trade but I was just saying, the Flames brass seems to go about things in a stealth type manner. Don't worry Rex, I'm not expecting to see Bobby Ryan in Flames colors anytime soon. But... you never know.

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#28 Steve
July 19 2012, 01:43PM
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@dick

I just don't think he's that much of a difference maker. He plays a lot of tough minutes, but he gets scored on an awful lot too! I'd rather get a young Dman back with long term potential.

I do think Gio can play more and be better. I would like to see Brodie and Smith play considerably more minutes.

If it doesn't work, draft Seth Jones next year!

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#29 BurningSensation
July 19 2012, 01:45PM
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I've assumed all along that the trade rumors around JBo+Backlund involved them as a package to get Ryan or Nash.

My thoughts;

-->Ana: JBo, Backlund, a future first, 'B' grade prospect (Reinhart, Horak, etc)

--->Cgy: Ryan, Dman with bad contract

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#30 Stockley
July 19 2012, 01:59PM
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@Justin

I'd be down with that. Rattie and Baertschi feed off each other very well. Chemistry is a very real X-factor.

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#31 Baalzamon
July 19 2012, 02:03PM
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given what Feaster has said about Backlund since the signing (that he should compete for a top 6 center spot on THIS TEAM), and how thin the team is on center anyway, I sincerely doubt they trade him now. There's also the fact that they just signed him, even without the rest.

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#32 cLyde
July 19 2012, 08:18PM
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Justin wrote:

Im sure it's been said already but lets put it out there again; JBo to St. Louis for Rattie.

I've seen Rattie enough to say absolutely not unless Stl were to throw something else very good in there.

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#33 cLyde
July 19 2012, 08:21PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

I've assumed all along that the trade rumors around JBo+Backlund involved them as a package to get Ryan or Nash.

My thoughts;

-->Ana: JBo, Backlund, a future first, 'B' grade prospect (Reinhart, Horak, etc)

--->Cgy: Ryan, Dman with bad contract

No. That is way to much to give up especially when we have just started to replenish our prospect pool. We are rebuilding. Hopefully we can move some deadwood for some 2nd-5th round picks and continue to go after Gaudreau, Reinhart, Granlund, Ferland type players in the mid rounds.

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#34 rude
July 20 2012, 01:58AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

If the Sharks aren't profitable, I'll eat my shoe.

I have spoken with some of the sharks' top brass and they insist that they lost at least 11 of the 15 mil on unsold Havlat jerseys and Patty Marleau's eyebrow stylist

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