FGD: Hockey Day in Canada

Christian Roatis
January 18 2014 02:34PM

                                                      via: CBC

Happy Hockey Day in Canada! Although it may not be so happy at around 8:30 MST when the Flames will have already started playing the Vancouver Canucks, but for now, the mood is jolly and hockey-ey.

The Canucks are reeling, having lost three in a row including a shattering at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks, 9 to 1. Vancouver, however, have been strong at Rogers Arena this year and will also receive a jolt in the lineup tonight with the return of Alex Burrows from a broken jaw. It's really no matter for the Flames though, who are just thankful to be out of the Scotiabank Sattledome, where they've been setting all sorts of records you don't want to set. We'll find out soon enough just how much of a difference being on the road makes for this weary group.

The Calgary Flames

  • Jiri Hudler - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak
  • Lance Bouma - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne
  • Blair Jones - Matt Stajan - Paul Byron
  • Kevin Westgarth - Ben Street - Brian McGrattan
  • T.J. Brodie - Mark Giordano
  • Ladislav Smid - Chris Butler
  • Dennis Wideman - Shane O'Brien
  • Karri Ramo

The roster appears more and more unimpressive with every passing game, doesn't it? To me, it also raises the interesting question of: At the end of this rebuild, who do you expect to still be here? Monahan and Gio are locks, Backlund and Brodie are also strong possibilities, but after that there doesn't seem to be anyone who is untouchable. That's a good thing I suppose, because this not a team you're going to win with. And by win, I don't even mean championships, I mean games.

Anyways, the forward group looks very thin - as usual. The Sedin's will see a lot of the Backlund line which is the only unit that has a legitimate argument to being considered a Top 6 NHL forward line. They'll also need to be the ones who score because short of Sean Monahan, there's a significant lack of offense in this line up.

The blueline actually looks half decent, with the staple Gio and Brodie unit leading the pack. They've been quite good relative to the rest of the team and they'll need to put on another stellar performance tonight if the Flames hope to keep it close. Smid and Butler were praised by Peter Loubardias on the Fan960 the other day, a series of compliments I didn't really feel were warranted, but who am I to contradict Loubardias? Wideman will probably try and carry O'Brien, but won't do it particularly well and they'll both end up with poor fancy stats at the end of the game.

Karri Ramo has been the only positive through this rebuilding year - his play has suggested him being a potential future puckstopper for this organization in the future - and will rightfully get the start tonight. He'll see plenty of Canuck rubber so hopefully he's come to play tonight.

The Vancouver Canucks

  • Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
  • Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Jannik Hansen
  • Tom Sestito - Zac Dalpe - Zack Kassian
  • David Booth - Brad Richardson - Dale Weise
  • Chris Tanev Dan Hamhuis
  • Alexander Edler Kevin Bieksa
  • Jason Garrison Yannick Weber
  • Eddie Lack Roberto Luongo

The Canucks top line is finally whole again as Burrows has been out on two separate occasions resulting in just 13 games played this year for the winger. Henrik Sedin was questionable for tonight but is now expected to play. The Canucks, too dress goons and I'm sure we'll be treated to a scrap or two (McGrattan's nightly beatdowns have become the highlight of most my Flame viewing experiences) to enlighten what could be another long night for the visiting squad. David Booth is another topic I wanted to touch on. He just has really not worked out in Vancouver, has he? Playing on the fourth unit tonight really epitomizes his tumultuous time in Vancouver, where he was expected to be a Top 6 scoring threat and instead flopped big time into a big money fourth liner. Ouch.

That Top 4 on D looks real good, doesn't it? Two Olympians, a guy 29 other NHL teams would love to have and an up and coming youngster. All of them can score goals and I wouldn't be half surprised if all of them actually do, tonight. The third pairing isn't great but it's an area that will be likely be exploited by other teams' bottom six, not the Flames' goon line and AHL compliment. Oh well, it'll be fun to watch them lose in the playoffs at least, right?

 

Eddie Lack has been quite good, for the most part, in relief of an injured Roberto Luongo and will get the start again,  tonight. He already as a pair of wins under his belt against the Flames - including a shutout - and will look to make it three straight tonight. As per CBC's Elliotte Friedman, it'll be Luongo returning from injury tonight to start for the Canucks.

 

Sum It Up

At the beginning of the year, I would end all my FGD's with the phrase "you can't guarantee a win, but what you can guarantee is that it'll be an entertaining game". That is no longer valid, because lately the games haven't even been all that entertaining. So let's put this way: you can't guarantee a win, but what you can guarantee is two teams playing hockey and one of them not named the Calgary Flames probably winning. I don't like the rebuild either.

Happy Hockey Day in Canada to you all.

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Christian Roatis is a European by birth, Calgarian by heart. Other than writing at FlamesNation, he writes about and scouts NHL Draft Prospects at Future Considerations. Follow him on Twitter @CRoatis!
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#1 beloch
January 18 2014, 02:48PM
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Look at it this way: It's true that the Flames probably won't win tonight, but boy will it taste sweet if they do! Humiliating the Canucks when they're in a skid would be delicious, even if we're all yearning for the time when there will be no shame in being defeated by the Flames.

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#2 Carlizzle
January 18 2014, 02:49PM
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Let's hope for a solid game from "Rambo", a few fights thrown in, and at least a solid compete level from the visitors.

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#4 House
January 18 2014, 03:50PM
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I only liked Higgins when he was on Magnum P.I.

Win Flames Win! Lose Canucks Lose!

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#5 ianberg1
January 18 2014, 04:29PM
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I don't hope for wins this season anymore but just that the Flames avoid being shut-out and were in the process of a good core of players being assembled.

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#6 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 04:30PM
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Our line-up looks like the dog's breakfast. Sheesh.

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#7 ?
January 18 2014, 04:46PM
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Garrison is on their 3rd D pairing. Must be a luxury

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#8 cunning_linguist
January 18 2014, 06:05PM
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Edmonton did their job and got a point today. Come on Buffalo,dig deep and get 2. Flames need to lose this one in regulation, 6-5. Monahan scores a hatty, Backlund has 5 points. Meanwhile on the farm, Abby wins 10-1, Baertschi has a point on all 10 goals to make him a point-per-game player for the Heat. Burke holds a press conference after the game to declare that Baertschi has learned to be a complete 3-zone player over the past month and will be joining to Flames to play top 6 minutes beside Sean Monahan on a nightly basis (with PP time).

With Baertschi's new found offensive confidence, the Flames proceed to deal Cammy to Buffalo for their own 1st round pick. Over the next few months, Cammy brings a hard working culture to the Sabres and catapults them up the standings past Calgary. Oilers call up Laurent Brossoit who posts the first SV% above .900 in Oilers history, catapulting them into 10th place, where they will stay for the next 10 years. Sabres win the lottery, but Calgary holds their 1st round pick. Calgary drafts Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart, 1st and 2nd overall. They join a prospect pool which includes Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold and John Gilles, all of whom would have signed at the conclusion of their NCAA seasons.

That's my guess anyway.

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#9 Baalzamon
January 18 2014, 06:23PM
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@cunning_linguist

that seems reasonable.

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#10 MontanaMan
January 18 2014, 06:26PM
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cunning_linguist - You seem to have it all figured out!!! If only it were that easy. I'm not sure that Sven is ever going to be a top six forward - there's just so much to the game other than pure talent and I'm not sure Sven has those intangibles. And although Cammy looked like he would fetch a first rounder in the first few months of the season, his play before his injury was less than spectacular and his value has likey slipped. Will be interesting to see what Cammy, Stajan, Wideman, Butler, etc will bring. I'm guessing we might be very disappointed.....

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#11 Daves Waves
January 18 2014, 06:51PM
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@cunning_linguist

"...into 10th place where they will stay there for the next 10 years."

somebody give this guy a medal please. got a good laugh out of that one.

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#12 bilman
January 18 2014, 06:55PM
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This is completely unrelated to the game tonight, but I continue to hear rumblings about Kadri being in play in Toronto. Anyone want to throw out what it would take to get him? What about Backlund and Cammalleri?

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#13 RKD
January 18 2014, 07:07PM
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The parallels between the Canucks and the Flames is somewhat striking. The Canucks appear to be heading down the same path as the Flames. Both teams went to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Both had first round exits the next two years. Their core players: Sedins, Kesler, Luongo, Bieksa are all in their 30's. Both the Sedins are out of the top 20 in league scoring. I bet the Canucks will regret that four year extension they signed the Sedins to. Outside of Horvat, Shinkaruk, and Corrado their prospect cupboard is bare. Hopefully, the Nucks are dead last in a few years and we are back in the playoffs.

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#15 mattyc
January 18 2014, 08:00PM
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Not sure we should be prepared to call Ramo a potential goalie of the future, and Berra a bust. While I agree that to the eye Ramo has looked a little less out of position, but their numbers are both well below league average (replacement level).

With Berra saving 89.4% and Ramo 90.3%, the difference is one goal every 111 shots, or about a goal every 3-4 games.

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#16 Dazza
January 18 2014, 08:00PM
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The only thing that keeps me going sometimes is that the Canucks have never won a cup. Bless you Boston Bruins...bless you!

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#17 RexLibris
January 18 2014, 08:07PM
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mattyc wrote:

Not sure we should be prepared to call Ramo a potential goalie of the future, and Berra a bust. While I agree that to the eye Ramo has looked a little less out of position, but their numbers are both well below league average (replacement level).

With Berra saving 89.4% and Ramo 90.3%, the difference is one goal every 111 shots, or about a goal every 3-4 games.

Had to do a double take there.

A goal every 3-4 games, I thought you were talking about the forwards for a moment.

Honestly though, from what I have seen, Ramo strikes me as being at least a goalie that can see the Flames through the end of next season.

Berra reminds me of Deslauriers. He'll come up with some spectacular save and follow that up with a half a dozen easy errors.

Ramo may be at or slightly below replacement level, but so long as he can be consistently average, even if it is only slightly above .900, then for one more season it isn't the worst thing for the Flames given their other organizational needs and development of prospects like Ortio and Gillies.

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#18 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 08:13PM
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Jesus, that's some bush league stuff.

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#19 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 08:15PM
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But maybe worth it to see Torts lose his marbles.

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#20 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:20PM
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@Veggie Dog

The best part was that Hartley didn't even look at Torts - made him go even more insane.

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#21 seve927
January 18 2014, 08:20PM
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Embarrassing.

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#22 Burnward
January 18 2014, 08:23PM
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Ha! Awesome start to this game. Eddie Shore!

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#23 Parallex
January 18 2014, 08:24PM
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So... exactly how much are those eight guys getting paid for 2 seconds? That was silly, a 20 minute delay in the game that I was gonna have trouble staying up for anyways... great.

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#24 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:27PM
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@seve927

I get the loathe. But, it somehow got the Top-2 D pairing of the Canucks game misconducts, in exchange for basically Smid and Blair Jones.

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#25 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 08:31PM
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I could do without the Charleston Chiefs routine, but if it results in Gio smashing Alex Burrows before the end of the game I will be thrilled.

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#26 Parallex
January 18 2014, 08:32PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I get the loathe. But, it somehow got the Top-2 D pairing of the Canucks game misconducts, in exchange for basically Smid and Blair Jones.

Yeah, I guess the talent exchange comes out in our favor... and Dancing Bear #2 can't play the rest of the game which is a plus.

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#27 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:41PM
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Wow, the Canucks are just hemorrhaging players right now...

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#28 Parallex
January 18 2014, 08:45PM
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What's the current single game combined PIM record?

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#29 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:46PM
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@Parallex

419 apparently, Flyers-Senators March 5, 2004. I love Google. Almost halfway there...

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#30 Colin.S
January 18 2014, 08:47PM
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Should reup Hartley for that stunt, not because it was hockey should be about, but because it was brilliant coaching.

We no longer play our abomination of a fourth line because they've all been ejected and at the same time got a couple of their better defenders, Beiksa and Garrison. However we are so low on D now it might not matter and the sedins might have the run of the place in the third when we are to tired to chase.

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#31 Mullen Mania
January 18 2014, 08:47PM
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TRUCULENCE!

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#32 mk
January 18 2014, 08:48PM
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Wow - at some point hockey will be played...I hope.

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#33 Parallex
January 18 2014, 08:49PM
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Damnit... why can't this be one of the games where Luongo sucks.

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#34 Colin.S
January 18 2014, 08:55PM
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I don't get Torts, what's his deal, why is he mad? He has last change, he put his dumb goons out there to match the goons of Calgary and what did he think was happening.

If he was a half decent coach instead of the useless garbage windbag he is, he would have put a half decent line out there to take advantage of the weakness the Flames sent out. I hope Torts gets fired at seasons end and we never see or hear him in the NHL or on TV ever again.

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#35 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 08:56PM
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In other news, I really like Bouma. His game is awesome.

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#36 Monaertchi
January 18 2014, 08:59PM
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I feel ashamed that I am entertained.

I guess its hockey porn.

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#37 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 09:00PM
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Torts is going to get some crap for that hall way stuff. His post-game is going to be great.

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#38 piscera.infada
January 18 2014, 09:01PM
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It's odd how angry Tortorella is. I guess Hartley just really gets under his skin?

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#39 Jerry
January 18 2014, 09:01PM
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Oiler fan here go Flames

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#40 Parallex
January 18 2014, 09:03PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

In other news, I really like Bouma. His game is awesome.

Same. I remember watching him when he was with the Giants just knew he was gonna be an NHL'er.

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#41 Mullen Mania
January 18 2014, 09:03PM
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@Veggie Dog

He should get crap for that. Way too emotional response for a guy who it would be in his best interest to calm the game and his team down. Torts has always been an egotistical dumb ass.

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#42 Burnward
January 18 2014, 09:04PM
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Big Ern was awesome in that hall. Gotta go through him first!

@Colin.S

Exactly dude. Torts knew the score. Tool.

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#43 Ron
January 18 2014, 09:07PM
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Torts has been expending a lot of energy to pretend he is a calm guy, take off that mask.

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#44 Parallex
January 18 2014, 09:08PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

It's odd how angry Tortorella is. I guess Hartley just really gets under his skin?

Yeah, I don't get it either. What's his major malfunction? Personally I thought the coach swap was silly for the Canucks, Alain Vignault is a better coach then Tortorella.

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#45 Jeff In Lethbridge
January 18 2014, 09:08PM
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Torts....

can dish it out, but can't take it.

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#46 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 09:09PM
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@Burnward

He looked even bigger in the hallway with Malarchuk down at his elbow.

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#47 Mullen Mania
January 18 2014, 09:10PM
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This is the first time I have liked PJ

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#48 Veggie Dog
January 18 2014, 09:11PM
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@Mullen Mania

I agree!

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#49 seve927
January 18 2014, 09:12PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I get the loathe. But, it somehow got the Top-2 D pairing of the Canucks game misconducts, in exchange for basically Smid and Blair Jones.

But really, that benefits us how? We really need these two points? Let's hire Jeff Galuli next.

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#50 Bill
January 18 2014, 09:13PM
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Veggie Dog wrote:

I agree!

Yes, but for his shirt

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