Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: on ‘adult conversations,’ GM’s meetings, Cup memories and fundraising

I tend not to start overnight reports or any blog entries with grown-up conversations, but we need to have one, dear readers.

Many of you responded to my, "The free agency stuff I've heard from Red Wings fans of late is nuts" comment in Sunday morning's overnight report with, "Nuh uhh, fire was banned in 1408, after a freak fire wiped out three generations of racing snails!"...Wait, I mean, "Forsooth, George, praytell where thee hath such nonsense heareth? Here? Nay!"

Okay, get ready for "the talk":

My dear comments section friends, while you are held in high esteem and valued greatly, it turns out that The Malik Report has both a wider audience, which engages the author on Facebook, on Twitter, via email and occasionally carrier pigeon...

But there are also reasons why I'd suggest that perhaps a third to a quarter of the comments regarding my blog entries come from the comments section itself:

It turns out that while my dear commenters are wise and faithful...Y'all tend to kind of intimidate people, especially when comments get...Testosterone-y. Commenters can, from time to time, get a little bit territorial and ever-so-slightly dismissive of comments that do not embrace the TMR-hath-inheretish-its-comments-section's-tone-from-Abel-to-Yzerman's-brusque-toned "19" aesthetic. As such, there is in fact a vibrant community of readers who choose to engage outside the atmosphere of the hard-core heart of the TMR community.

And while the dearly-regarded (I'm not kidding or being sarcastic about that part of this, folks) commenters have been more engaged in discussions about potential trades as opposed to utilizing the pool of free agents-to-be in terms of forwards, defensemen or goaltenders possibly available to bolster the Red Wings' ranks on July 1st, those free agents-to-be have generated considerable interest.

Some of the suggestions made by the at-large TMR community, as well as the multitude of Red Wings communities centered around the myriad of websites, blogs, message boards, newspapers, sports talk radio and non-affiliated groups, have been more than a little batshit insane, I mean whimsical in nature, in terms of both possible trades and free agent signings, and it's toward that larger community that I directed Sunday's message.

There are those who believe that the Red Wings in fact can out-bid the Canadiens and Geoff Molson's beer money with Mike Ilitch's pizza dough when it comes to restricted free agent PK Subban; there are those who believe that the Wings need to acquire Keith Yandle, and Ryan Kesler, and Marc-Andre Fleury (to back up Jimmy Howard?), there are those who believe that the Drew Doughtys and Justin Williamses of the Stanley Cup Final could be easily acquired for marginal cost, and there are many, many fans who believe that, say, adding Martin Brodeur, Matt Niskanen and Thomas Vanek is the "way to go" in terms of helping the youth movement. There are also those who wish to combine the two approaches as well.

My message to all of you is the same message I issued on Sunday: "That would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen," and in my opinion, such spending and/or trading sprees probably shouldn't happen. 

That being said...

This morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James posited a photo gallery-annotated list of 9 free agents-to-be who she believes the Wings should target: Jarome Iginla, Stephane Robidas, Derek Morris, Brooks Orpik, Dan Boyle, Andrei Markov, Anton Stralman, Jussi Jokinen and Matt Moulson.

I'm not particularly keen on most of them, but I'm sure that all of you have different opinions regarding said players.

Also in the speculatory vein, you will not be surprised that WXYZ's 7 Sports Cave's Brad Galli, John Niyo and Matt Sheppard suggested that the Wings' re-signing of Jeff Blashill is something of a "security policy" and/or "safety blanket in case Mike Babcock bolts" move....

And you can listen to WDFN's Sheppard's interview with Blashill here:

[edit/update: Via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Ansar Khan posted another "Ask Ansar" column, and these are the kinds of questions I field on a regular basis:

Q. I think Nashville is almost certain to trade Shea Weber. I don't see them paying his $13 million bonus due (July 1). I expect Holland to make a very hard push to land him. I think (coach Mike) Babcock has put serious pressure on Holland to improve the team; otherwise he leaves at the end of this season. Who do the Wings have to give up for Weber and what other teams will be in the mix?


A. For what it's worth, Predators GM David Poile said after the season he isn't trading Weber. If he decides to move him, surely the Red Wings would be interested. But I think the cost would be too high for them. What would it take? That's anybody's guess. It cost promising prospect Calle Jarnkrok and a second-round pick for David Legwand, so you can only imagine what it would take to land Weber, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound Norris Trophy finalist who's tough, strong defensively and capable of scoring 20 goals a year with a booming right-handed shot. Who would be in the mix? Philadelphia, which signed him in 2012 to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet, for sure, and anybody else who's not concerned about his contract and is willing to relinquish quality assets. I don't think what Babcock may or may not do after the season factors into the Red Wings' personnel decisions.


Q. What are the chances the Red Wings pursue a trade for a right-handed defenseman such as Dustin Byfuglien, Cody Franson or Shea Weber?


A. See above for Weber. They have shown interest in Franson in the past, but I don't think Toronto would deal with Detroit now that they're in the same division. If Winnipeg looks to move Byfuglien I'm sure the Red Wings would inquire. Perhaps another possibility is Mike Green of Washington.
Q. Radim Vrbata scores a decent amount of points and could be a steal on the free-agent market. Do you see the Red Wings pursuing him to a contract around three years and $3 million per season? Trevor Linden says the Canucks are not trading Alexander Edler. However, he would fit well on the Detroit blue line and the Wings have shown considerable interest in him. If Detroit offered Vancouver the right deal could you see Edler coming to Detroit?  


A. I think Linden is sincere when he said he doesn't plan on asking Edler to waive his no-trade clause and wants the 28-year-old defenseman to be part of the team's future. But if the Canucks have a change of heart and Edler agrees to a move, I believe the Red Wings would pursue him aggressively. He has five years remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $5 million.

As for Vrbata, he turns 33 on Friday. I'd hesitate to make a three-year commitment to him if it diminishes Tomas Jurco's role or forces him to spend next season in Grand Rapids. I'd rather see them give Teemu Pulkkinen and/or Anthony Mantha a shot in 2015-16.

This kind of stuff is tame. Downright tame. /end edit]




Regarding Ken Holland's actual plans for Monday, the Toronto Star's Damien Cox reported that the NHL's competition committee will be meeting in New York ahead of the annual Stanley Cup Final's General Managers' meetings (the Board of Governors tends to meet at the draft). I don't mind re-posting an article already discussed by Paul because I think that the topic Cox believes the GM's will discuss in earnest is important to those of us who are tired of watching goals waved off due to "incidental contact" while others stand despite goaltenders essentially being dry-humped by opposing teams' forwards:

On Monday, the league’s competition committee will discuss using replay for things like offsides leading to a goal, goalies playing the puck outside the trapezoid and pucks that go over the glass but aren’t detected. The five management representatives — Ed Snider, David Poile, Ken Holland, Peter Chiarelli and Don Maloney — may or may not get into the thorny issue of goalie interference calls with player union representatives Ron Hainsey, Daniel Winnik, Mike Cammalleri and Kevin Shattenkirk.

Video replay and goalie interference are both on the agenda, just not together as one issue.

Regardless, when the league’s general managers meet in Manhattan on Wednesday, they definitely will talk about ways to deal with the growing controversy on goalie interference.

Glen Sather, you have to imagine, is going to have something to say. It was Sather’s New York Rangers who were victimized in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final when it appeared goalie Henrik Lundqvist was clearly impeded by L.A. forward Dwight King on a third period goal.

Referee Dan O’Halloran disagreed, the goal stood to make it 4-3 early in the third, and the Kings ended up coming back all the way to win 5-4 in double overtime on Dustin Brown’s winner.

Interestingly, there were two other goalie interference calls — one on Ranger forward Benoit Pouliot, one on Kings centre Jeff Carter — both of which were correctly called by the officiating staff. But neither one led to a goal. The one that did, King trespassing in Lundqvist’s crease, did lead to a goal, and may have significantly altered the course of this Cup final.

The NHL's War Room can't turn over calls made on the ice in these instances, nor can they overturn the "incidental contact" rule, and as Cox notes, the NHL is not fond of the concept of expanding video review to examine each and every instance in which pucks enter the net:

Commissioner Gary Bettman certainly isn’t a proponent of it, or of expanding the use of video review much beyond the way it’s used now. Obviously, goalie interference as currently written up in the rule book is a very subjective call, and going to Toronto for video reviews every time it occurs might just confuse matters more.

And the players? Hard to say, particularly since there isn’t a goalie on the NHLPA’s list of competition committee members.

Cox continues, and I shit you not when I say that the Board of Governors' dinosaurs tend to suggest that reviewing goals which count or don't count due to contact with goaltenders and/or allowing the War Room to overturn calls made on the ice should not occur because such instances would "slow down the game" too much.

After watching at least thirty goals in which Tomas Holmstrom was involved be waved off, and after watching Dan F***ng O'Halloran make the following call so very regularly, I believe that each and every instance in which the puck goes into the net should be reviewable and should be subject to oversight from the NHL's War Room:

I can live with "slowing the game down" in order to get the damn call right. But what do I know?

The NHL's competition committee and GM's will probably also discuss the NHL's concussion protocols.

While you and I witnessed Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and other players miss extended periods of time because the Red Wings' trainers tend to whisk away anybody who's suffered some kind of blow to the head to take their baseline neurological tests, we've all seen players sustain heavy hits, get up wobbly and magically avoid taking such tests during the playoffs, usually by shaking their heads when asked by trainers whether they need to be tested.

I found it particularly disturbing that Drew Miller told the Associated Press's Larry Lage that his teammates have done the same in order to not "lose their spots" in the lineup:

The NHL's concussion protocol, like other leagues, requires players to get a team doctor's OK before they can return to play. They are taken to a quiet place for evaluation, questions and tests of their memory, balance and general awareness.Players, though, seem to be able to skate around the protocol.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski said he avoided return-to-play protocol after he went headfirst into the boards during the playoffs. He wanted to keep playing. The Montreal Canadiens were criticized for letting forward Dale Weise return to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals after a blindside hit sent him to the dressing room. General manager Marc Bergevin insisted the team did not know Weise had a concussion until the next day and that the league's protocol was followed.

''It's flawed, but I'm not a doctor,'' Bergevin said. ''We all worry about our players, but we can only go by what we're given.''


Detroit Red Wings forward Drew Miller said players choose to keep playing with head injuries for at least a few reasons.

''Guys downplay the symptoms or don't report them because of job security and they don't want to lose their spot,'' Miller said. ''And, guys want to keep playing because they want help their team. In the back of our minds, too, you don't want other teams to know you have a head injury.''

Given the fact that so many teams know that they can get Franzen to go apeshit by deliberately elbowing him in the head or punching his face after play, Miller has a point regarding the latter matter, but that still doesn't make it right to hide what really is a brain injury from trainers.

I haven't really talked about the topic, but it's June 9th, and I still don't quite feel like I'm back at 100% after sustaining that damn concussion on New Year's Day. I'm close, but there are still some small issues that I've had to deal with when I suffered a severe concussion in 2006, and I have to admit that I'm considering ruling out playing sports entirely because the pair of concussions I've had over the past 8 years have been so severe in nature. The concept of playing with "cowbebs" scares the hell out of me.

But you and I also learned that even the best training staffs in the league don't catch everything, and in Stephen Weiss's case, Weiss told Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji that he "played through" a groin issue that bothered him since the first day of training camp because he felt pressure to fulfill the Wings' expectations. That led to two surgeries to repair a "core muscle" injury and then remove some scar tissue, and it led to a lost season for Weiss.

The truth of the matter in terms of all sports injuries is the same truth for any of us who've told a family member, friend or doctor that we feel "fine" despite battling a physical issue that's been bothering us because we don't want to be a "burden," don't want to "make a big deal" out of things or don't want to "deal with the hassle" of being treated for our issues.

Some of us can be more stubborn than others, and in Stephen Weiss's case, that's detrimental to player and team; in the cases Miller is discussing, that's just plain dangerous.




Regarding the Stanley Cup Final, ESPN's Craig Custance posited a list of the "Top10 Finals from the Past 20 Years," and the Wings made the list twice, one for the Cup they won and another in which the result was not positive:

It has been 20 years since Madison Square Garden hosted a Stanley Cup finals game, in a 1994 series that was an all-timer. So in honor of those 20 years, we asked 19 veteran media members -- one for each final (never forget the lockout) -- to rank their top five Stanley Cup finals series. Some of the panel had covered every single one of those finals, including ESPN's Barry Melrose and Steve Levy. Most had covered a majority of them, and a few are even in the Hall of Fame. We gave five points for a first-place vote, four for a second-place vote, right on down to one for a fifth-place vote. Here's the final tally for the top 10 Stanley Cup finals over the past two decades:


2. 2009: Pittsburgh Penguins over Detroit Red Wings in 7
(53 points, 2 first-place votes)

It was the first Stanley Cup for Sidney Crosby, who looked like he was ready to collect a few of them with a powerful young Penguins team. Each team took care of its first two games at home and the Red Wings appeared to seize the series with a crushing 5-0 win in Game 5, but a pair of 2-1 wins in the final two games prevented a repeat for Detroit. Marc Andre-Fleury's save on Nicklas Lidstrom in the final moments of Game 7 will go down in Penguins history as one of the best.

I still have nightmares about that save. I'm not kidding.

10. 2008: Detroit Red Wings over Pittsburgh Penguins in 6
(6 points)

This finals was the end of an era for a Red Wings team featuring Detroit favorites and multiple Cup winners Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Kirk Maltby, Chris Osgood, Kris Draper, Darren McCarty and Tomas Holmstrom. It was Crosby's first trip to the Stanley Cup finals and the start of Marian Hossa's incredible streak of reaching the finals three consecutive years with three different teams. It was also historic in that Lidstrom became the first European-born captain to win the Stanley Cup.

Regarding the Stanley Cup Final in a larger sense, you will find more than a few pictures of Red Wings battling for the Cup in Sports Illustrated's "100 Best Stanley Cup Photos," and you get stuck watching this save mentioned by the Hockey News's Casey Ippolito's "Most Saves in a Stanley Cup Run" because I learned how to play goal emulating this guy:

I can't say that idolizing Kirk McLean growing up yielded aesthetically-pleasing goaltending from yours truly, but I sure made a crapton of, "How did that not go in?" saves without dropping into the butterfly. I eventually incorporated some more modern stuff into my game by watching Nikolai Khabibulin (one of the pioneers of the "hands-in-front" tweak) and Dominik Hasek prior to his Stanley Cup Final appearance (you could really see how some of the things he did were based upon an unorthodox but still disciplined style earlier in his career), but I still have and cherish my Hespeler Kirk McLean model stick.




Regarding free agents, and speaking of players who've played in pain to their detriment, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's latest "By the Numbers" article focuses on Daniel Cleary's 2013-2014 season stats...

29: Regular-season games missed down the stretch after he suffered an allergic reaction to an injected painkiller in one of his knees. He missed one other game during the season when he was a healthy scratch against Winnipeg on Nov. 12.

10: The number of teeth he lost after he was struck by a puck at Florida on Dec. 28. Three days later he visited a Detroit area dentist for repairs that took approximately 90 minutes. By his own account, he has only 12 of his original teeth left.

23: Career number of game-winnings he has after his second-period goal – which was also his first of the 2013-14 season – helped the Red Wings claim a 3-2 victory at Boston on Oct. 14. Only Henrik Zetterberg (56), Pavel Datsyuk (45) and Johan Franzen (41) have more GWG among active Red Wings.

And this has been floating around: According to La Presse's Richard Labbe, we shouldn't expect to see Andrei Markov on the free agent marketplace at all as the defenseman with Daniel Cleary-like knees (i.e. wonky ones) is incredibly likely to re-sign with Montreal, per his agent, Sergei Berezin.




Finally, I'd prefer to do this after writing a more "meaty" entry, but I can't really wait any longer. It's June 9th, I've got $22 in my savings account, and I am still hoping to attend the Red Wings' summer development camp from July 4th to 8th (that's 5 days) in Traverse City, MI, but there's no way in heck that I can do so on my own.

Over the past three years that the Wings have held development camps in Traverse City, I've asked for your help in raising the finances to cover my hotel and gas bills, and you've been amazingly and remarkably kind in affording me the opportunity to "work for you"; due to my present financial circumstances, I'm afraid that I have to ask for your assistance again.

If there's any way that you can lend a financial hand in my attempts to get up to Traverse City for the summer development camp and/or eventually to attend the prospect tournament and main camp in the fall, I would be incredibly grateful for your assistance.

I'm sticking with Paypal as it's the most direct route (though I will also do the whole, "Give me your address and I'll send you a check or a few bucks in the mail" thing, too), and you have to use my email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, as the recipient.

Here's the button:

If you can aid the cause, I'd be incredibly grateful; if you can't, I understand, and as usual, literally any amount helps. You'd be surprised how many $5, $10 and $20 donations end up paying my way. Thanks.

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RW19's avatar

When it comes to trades, a lot of people don’t take into consideration that if you want to acquire someone from another team and they have no desire to move the guy, you really have to grossly overpay.

Trades usually happen when a team sours a bit on a player or the player sours on the team. Occasionally its a cash dump or a roster size issue but in general its pretty rare that teams move a guy, just “to move a guy.”

I have said all along that it will be easier for the Wings to work on the roster starting with the bottom. Miller, Glendening, Andersson, Kindl, Lashoff, Gustavsson are all useful, but also nothing special. Tweak there, let the younger group of players develop and see where you are at in March 2014-15.

From what we saw this spring, the Wings are many players away from being a true contender. Those players might be on the roster right now or they might be in GR. But you have to give it a couple of years to play out. Yes that sucks for the “we-gotta-win-now-with Pav and Z” crowd but that’s reality. Pav and Z (and Nick, Rafi, Stuart, Mule, Kronwall) haven’t gotten past the second round in 5 years.

Adding Shea Weber or Keith Yandle or Mike Green won’t change the fact the team needs help throughout the line up and that takes time to address.

Posted by RW19 on 06/09/14 at 08:31 AM ET


Can’t wait for the draft and the camps and everything to start so we have more to talk about here. Right now its the lack of Wings stuff happning right now that makes us all a little crazy.

Posted by lancer on 06/09/14 at 08:51 AM ET


This may sound like heresy to the Wings faithful, but I really believe that Holland and Babcock are not on the same page as to the future direction the Wings should take to become a better team that goes deeper in the playoffs. I believe that Mike Babcock is effectively holding the team hostage and refusing to resign or extend unless Holland takes the roster in the direction Babcock wants to go, namely more veterans.

Babcock has made repeated comments that, I believe, indicate his dislike for putting the kids into the roster. He forced Holland to resign Cleary last year. I believe he forced Holland to pick up Legwand this year. I don’t believe Holland wanted to do either of those things nor did Holland believe that those events were in the best interests of the Detroit Red Wings.

Should the Wings sign Babcock again after this year? I personally don’t think keeping Babcock is in the best interests of the Detroit Red Wings going forward.  What’s your take on Babcock’s direction versus Holland?

Posted by Heresy from Aiken, SC on 06/09/14 at 09:50 AM ET


unless Holland takes the roster in the direction Babcock wants to go, namely more veterans.


He forced Holland to resign Cleary last year.

People have been saying this all year but I have never read anything whatsoever to back this up.

I believe he forced Holland to pick up Legwand this year.

What?  I guess if you mean that Babcock ‘forced’ Holland to trade for an NHL centre because the Wings had no NHL centres on the roster because of injury, yeah, I guess maybe he did.  Nevermind that Holland said he was forced to make the trade because he found out at around 12:30 on deadline day that he was going to be without Datsyuk and Helm for who knows how long, but please, continue to believe that Babcock somehow forced his hand.  Might as well completely ignore the quotes from Babcock too, in which he says that he has little say in who Holland signs or trades for.

But even if you misguidedly believe that, do you really want to blame an NHL coach for wanting NHL players on his NHL roster?

I don’t believe Holland wanted to do either of those things nor did Holland believe that those events were in the best interests of the Detroit Red Wings.

Well, if Holland can’t make decisions for himself or is scared to make moves because of Babcock, then he isn’t just the worst GM in hockey, he is not a man at all, but simply a scared child.

And if you believe that…

Posted by Garth on 06/09/14 at 10:26 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Posted by Heresy on 06/09/14 at 09:50 AM ET

Interesting theory - I’ve always thought it was a Holland issue.  From trading several times for Doug Brown and re-acquiring Quincey, it has seemed that over his tenure, Holland has just liked to go back to players he is familiar with.  Cleary fits the description of a ‘familiar player.’  Our biggest problem of late has been that the majority of veterans on the team just haven’t been that good if we’re trying to compete for a Stanley Cup.  A puck-moving veteran defenseman is just what the team needs, and all the ‘band-aids’ put in place haven’t worked to date.

I agree with your assertion that Babcock and Holland aren’t on the same page in terms of roster, but I disagree that Babcock wants more veterans - that has always seemed to be Holland’s thing.  As an aside, take a look at the ages of Team Canada which Babcock led to the gold a few months ago: 8 of the 26 players are over 30, Luongo and St. Louis being the oldest of the players, and both of these men hardly saw any icetime.  http://www.tsn.ca/canadian_hockey/feature/?id=1131

I don’t think Babcock wants his team to be older, I think he just wants some players that can play his system (mainly on defense), and in the last few years, Holland has given him players like Tootoo and Samuelsson instead.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 06/09/14 at 10:28 AM ET


I don’t expect that my theory (and it’s just my opinion, nothing more) makes total sense to everyone. I am going on things that both Holland and Babcock have said and I am trying to piece together some rationale.

I could be totally wrong and I certainly have been before and will be again, but I just believe that something is not right. if facts prove me wrong at some point in the future, so be it. Call me an idiot.  But if I were Ken Holland, and my theory actually had some truth to it, then I would not believe it would be in the Wings’ best interest to keep Babs

Posted by Heresy from Aiken, SC on 06/09/14 at 10:49 AM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

Y’all tend to kind of intimidate people

What us??? big surprise
No we are always friendly and excepting of others opinions. snake

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 06/09/14 at 11:26 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I’m still on Team Pitkanen.  If CAR does not want to re-up him, I certainly want DET to take a chance on him, he could potentially fix a lot on the blueline and is a better player than just about anyone whose name is bandied about it trade talk, and he is FAR better than every single UFA d-man going on the market.  The cost would probably be realistic as well.  I don’t know about trading for a d-man because Kenny doesn’t seem to trade well anymore, and the FA d-men are garbage this year.  But Pitkanen, because he missed basically an entire year, just is way off everyone’s radar, and while it *was* for CAR, he was indeed their #1 dman for some years so I scoff at the notion he would somehow be over his head playing on DET’s top pairing (anyone suggesting Ericsson is better than Pitkanen needs their head examined)

I ignore the rest of the roster talk because…. yeah.  So very little of it is grounded in any kind of reality, it’s tiring and ridiculous.  In truth unless a move is going to yield a top-pairing d-men to play with Kronwall, I really don’t want it or care about it.  Give us that d-man, or give us nothing at all, because that’s the only thing that’s going to “fix” the team.

One caveat with the Weber thing though:  just because Poile wants to retain him doesn’t mean Weber wants to stay any longer, and I believe by July 1st his league-mandated NMC (for matching an offer sheet) expires.  And I say that outside of any Wings-related scope even.  I hope people remember that.  Weber did *not* sign an offer sheet with PHI because he so very desired to stay in NAS….  if something doesn’t happen this offseason, you have to wonder if by the trade deadline he won’t have had enough.  He’s maybe being quiet in NAS right now simply because he has no other way out right now, he’s stuck…

Posted by Primis on 06/09/14 at 11:31 AM ET


As a potential UFA target, I like what I see from Stralman in these playoffs.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 11:36 AM ET


The subtle, almost subconscious purpose behind a lot of these ‘ohmigod we needz to make big tradezz!’ comments/threads/discussions is battlespace preparation.  By spending two or three months this summer talking about 5000 different trade/acquisition scenarios that run the gamut from remotely plausible to certifiably insane, when September rolls around and it turns out Holland only made a very few moves of note… this will mean he’s a passive GM who should be pilloried.

He didn’t trade Franzen?  Outrage!
He didn’t acquire Edler?  Outrage!
He didn’t acquire blah blah blah?  Outrage!

That strategy serves to ignite around half of the people pre-disposed to hammer the Wings front office.  The other half will set phasers to kill when Holland does make a trade and it’s not a victory of epic proportions (see also, the Jarnkrok trade).

This phenomenon isn’t even remotely new.  It was going on back in the freaking Usenet days between the Wings and Avs messageboards 2 decades ago when people hacked away at the team for keeping or not keeping Murphy, or matching/not matching Lapointe’s Boston offer sheet, or what the hell are they doing trading for (and then PLAYING) Jamie Macoun, or (further back still), what the heck is going on with that Coffey trade?

In sports, these are the types of things which inflame, agitate and anger.  Fan thinks this should happen, it doesn’t happen, fan attacks.  That emotion is also what drives participation and content creation on these outlets for fan input, so while I’m sure George yearns for a golden age where conversation becomes sufficiently erudite and non-confrontational that it soothes his optic nerves like some form of fresh-pressed digital Aloe, I’m not entirely sure he’d be best pleased by the nature of the Tabernacle wherein he would find himself ensconced.

Ah well.  Considering no such enclave exists on any topic of discourse anywhere in the known universe it’s a point of concern rendered largely moot by the nature of reality… which in a point of sublime irony makes it not at all dissimilar from the topics and tone which spawned it.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/09/14 at 12:10 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by Heresy on 06/09/14 at 09:50 AM ET

What a complete made up pile of BS. Sorry but sometimes you gotta call a pile of BS when it stinks. 
To suggest that Babcock forces Holland’s hand or vice versa is stupidity, neither one of those individuals is a sheepish quiet person, and in general, that’s just not how this works, decisions are not made in isolation, especially within the Wings organization.

“Babcock has made repeated comments that, I believe, indicate his dislike for putting the kids into the roster. “ and Kenny hasn’t? “THIS IS A MAN’S LEAGUE? ever hear of that quote?

How did he force the Cleary signing, when BOTH of them met Cleary at the Traverse City Airport? And he forced his to sign Legwand only to shove him on the 4th line?

Take your whoppers to BK.


Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 06/09/14 at 12:19 PM ET


HockeyinHD - we are both reasonable people and want the best for the team we love, but how KH’s UFA and trades record can possibly be defended in the last 3-4 years?
Yes, we can find an excuse and explanation for any of his moves (something I have been doing on other forums defending KH from all sorts of critics), but the bottom line is 90% of the moves in the years after Lids left did not help the team to get better. Actually the opposite happened, so many average and below average players have been signed to long term contracts that there is not much room to improve the team. And I am not even talking about Cleary, Sammy and Bert. Was there a real rush to sign guys like Glendening, Miller, Lashoff, Eaves, etc? All solid players who work hard, that’s about it. You can find maybe 300 players in the NHL who can take their spot. Isn’t it better to use those roster spots on some young players whose ceiling is potentially a lot higher or to use those roster spots for bigger guys to balance out the roster? If our skilled star players are mostly small, should we try to at least get bottom six guys who are bigger or maybe speedier? And if we cannot and need to fill out the roster, I pretty much guarantee that we can find Glendenings and Millers of the world very easily.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 12:44 PM ET


Posted by MurrayChadwick on 06/09/14 at 12:19 PM ET

As I said, it’s just my theory and if I am totally wrong, go ahead and call me an idiot. I won’t care. It won’t bother me a bit if you disagree.

Posted by Heresy from Aiken, SC on 06/09/14 at 12:57 PM ET


Heresy, I agree with you that KH and Babcock are mostly not on the same page in terms of the direction of the team, but I truly believe the Legwand trade was all KH.
Cleary signing I thought was 50/50 with Babcock pushing for it and KH just having trouble to let it go.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 01:08 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 12:44 PM ET

I agree with your criticism of Holland not helping this team, and his UFA adds and trades being awful, but I couldn’t disagree more with your entire take on Glendenning, Miller, Lashoff, Eaves, which were all RFA or players under wings control. 

Where do I start,  I guess with the question of when a 3 year deal became long term, or how do you define rush? Are you saying make them “try out” when other teams might (yes might) just sign them, you think their agents would be ok with that? You say “not much room to improve the team” well didn’t a guy who was younger and faster in Glendenning take a spot where there was “no room”?  You do realize that Luke is one of the fastest players on this team right? 

You may think so, but most in the hockey world do not think it’s a good idea use young player who has top 6 talent to be your 1st unit PK guy or defensive grinder. Notice how Tatar and Nyquist are used in defensive situations or the PK, they’re not. I also don’t think it’s wise to spend the legs of Pavel and Hank to work and block shots on a PK.  There’s a reason Franzen doesn’t kill penalties.

As far as the 300 younger faster bigger tree where is that growing? Go look at the list of free agents. Is there bigger, sure, can they PK, let me know which. And how many of them happily play the role of 4th line PK guy, or a guy who gets benched every now and again for no reason?  And what do you sign them for? Look at what Tootoo swindle out of Holland. Kenny got these guys for reasonable tradeable waiveable deals.

Look, I’m all for adding a Thorton or an Ott type guy to our 3rd or 4th line we absolutely should, but none these guys you mentioned prohibits that.

Long story short, the wings have less than 4% of their cap committed to all three of these guys.  They go on the PK or dzone situations, and sit in front of slap shots. If they get hurt, you replace them. And if you find someone bigger stronger faster, you trade or waive them, a la Eaves, no harm no foul. Burying that salary in the AHL is nothing.  How much harm did Patrick Eaves cost this franchise? Much bigger flaws than this bunch and their role.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 06/09/14 at 01:44 PM ET


VPalmer, you may be right about Cleary. I based my speculation on little bits from comments attributed to both KH & Babs as well as circumstantial evidence presented by writers and commentators. 

The Legwand trade strikes me differently.  We had kids that could play center in place of Weiss and Helm & Pav while they were injured but Babs kept saying that just because the kids were there doesn’t mean they earned the right to play. 

Murray Chadwick argues that Babs was not demanding the Legwand trade and shoving him to the 4th line is proof that Babs wasn’t the driving force to get Legwand in the first place. I am not sure that Legwand was demoted to the 4th line because Babs didn"t want him in the 1st place. I suspect his quality of play (or lack thereof) had more to do with his position on the 4th line than anything else.

Posted by Heresy from Aiken, SC on 06/09/14 at 01:54 PM ET


Murray, I agree with most of what you say. And Miller/Glen/Eaves issue (and I understand that’s not the main issue) for me is not about taking cap room, but about taking roster spots from player with better potential or from players who are big and could really punish opposition. But you are making a good point that skilled players should play in top 6 with other skilled players (something I have been advocating myself) and maybe those big players who also kill penalties do not exist.
But I would have definitely preferred giving Jarnkrok (who was pretty much our only center prospect with potential to become top 6) a chance instead of trading him for a very moderate upgrade who ended up on a 4th line anyway. And it’s in a year when our chances to contend for the cup were minimal with Dats and Z injured. The playoff streak became too important for KH imo. As Dats said, we should not treat making playoffs as the ultimate goal, the goal should be to contend for the cup.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 02:03 PM ET


Heresy, the way I remember the only upgrade KH was talking about at the trade deadline was defense. Then he got bad news on Dats’ knee and Helm got injured the day before the deadline, so I think KH totally panicked and got whatever center he could get and then a story was created that Jarnkrok was bolting for Sweden anyway. I think it was such a last minute decisione that Babs possibly did not even have a chance to “push” for Legwand.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 02:09 PM ET


VPalmer, I do remember the timing between Dats and Helmer was really bad.  The quotes and commentary that I saw right after that whole scenario, plus what we have heard since then, is what convinced me that KH reacted to Babs.  I would really like to know if there is any truth to that or not.

And as a side note, I have not watched the SCF so far, but I do like what I have seen, and heard, and read about,  Stralman.

Posted by Heresy from Aiken, SC on 06/09/14 at 02:23 PM ET


The truth of the matter is we will never know what’s going on behind the closed doors. Even journalists who cover the team 24-7 know very little inside info. All we can do is speculate based on the articles we have been reading. Maybe 20 years from now we will know if Suter, for example, gave a verbal commitment to Detroit before Parise convinced him to join him in Minnesota.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 02:45 PM ET

awould's avatar

Holland has made some mistake signings…. Cleary, Samuelsson. A questionable trade in Legwand. A questionable trade with a 1st rounder for Quincey.

But the real issue, the real failure, is the gaping holes where Lidstrom, Rafalski and Stuart were. Needing to replace these three was a known issue long before they actually left and nothing has been done. Years have gone by. So, like, yeah, top defensemen don’t grow on trees, trading takes two to tango, blah blah blah. KH doesn’t get paid to try hard. As far as Babcock pressuring him, who cares? KH is the GM and he is the only one who should be held accountable. So, each summer goes by and the excuses and reasons get recycled and it’s all getting old. KH talks and acts like it’s so hard to pull off a trade and he won’t make a deal just to make a deal, but then Legwand and Quincey. Same old same old.

Posted by awould on 06/09/14 at 03:06 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

The truth of the matter is we will never know what’s going on behind the closed doors.

True statement, however,  in today’s media environment, and the size of the failure of both the Cleary and the oldLegs transactions, and the scrutiny both got,  if one of them was truly running roughshod over the other it would’ve leaked it.  It’d leak now with all this crazy Babcock speculation, no ship is that tight. 

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 06/09/14 at 03:07 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

What irritates me in the we tried department is how unactive he is. How many teams get picks for an exclusive negotiating period or give them out. Holland has ZERO aside from Stuart who basically picked his spot. Nothing for Hudler, Flippula etc. and none dished out for guys like Boyle. It might be the only way to get the UFA you want.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 06/09/14 at 03:12 PM ET


—-Holland has ZERO aside from Stuart who basically picked his spot
—-Agree. Imo (at the time it was happening) Stuart had to be traded at the trade deadline. There was zero chance he was returning and everybody knew that. He was going to the West Coast, but there are 3 teams there who could have used him, so I think Holland could have done better than a 7th round pick he got for him.
The other player that had to be traded at the deadline was Filpula as I also think there was zero chance he was resigning with us. I think KH could have got maybe a 2nd round pick for him that he could have used on Legwand if he so desired.
Have he tried to do that and did not succeed? Maybe. But my guess is he never even entertains the option of trading a roster player he has little intention to bring back.
As to trading a pick for negotiation rights, I might be wrong here, but I feel KH still thinks all free agents want to come to Detroit like it was 5-10 years ago and you do not need to beg them or overpay for them. We are the best hockey franchise in NHL, I truly believe so, but to me Hossa signing long term deal with the Hawks was the first sign that free premier free agents started to look at other teams as the teams to be if you want to win the cup. So, although I still think we have some “original 6 great franchise” magnet, we are not going to get any premier free agents unless we either overpay or do a thorough convincing job and yes, trading or negotiation rights, helps to get leg up on competition.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 03:36 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

But the real issue, the real failure, is the gaping holes where Lidstrom, Rafalski and Stuart were. Needing to replace these three was a known issue long before they actually left and nothing has been done.

Nicely put. Thank you.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 06/09/14 at 03:37 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I feel like most of the people to comment on this post did not read the first 10 paragraphs of this post, ironically enough :o

Posted by TreKronor on 06/09/14 at 03:50 PM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

But the real issue, the real failure, is the gaping holes where Lidstrom, Rafalski and Stuart were.

This has been a problem.
Just curious though, since I didn’t really follow the trades/signings of other teams prior to the last two years, who was available durring that time that we missed out on? Is it possible we were expecting some guys in the pipeline to be ready sooner than they were?

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 06/09/14 at 03:54 PM ET


But the real issue, the real failure, is the gaping holes where Lidstrom, Rafalski and Stuart were. Needing to replace these three was a known issue long before they actually left and nothing has been done

The plan was to replace Lids with Suter and I am sure KH had no doubts that Suter will sign with us. There was no plan B, C or D. There was plan A and it was a winner, until Suter said no. But honestly Suter was the only premier UFA dman available after Lids left and it’s quite possible KH was not looking at anybody else that year because nobody really excited him as a replacement for Lids. #5 was obviously irreplaceable. Suter was a good alternative and anybody else was just such a big drop off.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 04:15 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

As I’ve said several times, the one thing that Holland did that truly pisses me off to this day was not having a back-up plan for Suter. To some extent, we can blame Zach Parise for engineering the double-player-signing for Minnesota, as it does sound like Suter was interested in signing with Detroit, but…To not have a back-up plan and to not formulate a back-up plan for two more years…It *#$%@& baffles me.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/09/14 at 04:24 PM ET

awould's avatar

The plan was to replace Lids with Suter and I am sure KH had no doubts that Suter will sign with us. There was no plan B, C or D.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 04:15 PM ET

Well conceived, poorly executed. Offering less money than the team he actually wanted to play with was maybe a mistake if this was Plan A, B and C. Hard to overcome a player’s desire to sign with his chosen team by asking him to take a paycut.

Admittedly, there weren’t a lot of great options, and nobody is talking about replacing Lidstrom because that’s not possible. I’m talking about plugging the hole with a top-4 D man. What was available and what may have been possible, etc…. what I know is nothing has been done. Rather than judge KH on his reasons and near misses, I’m choosing to judge him on his actions. A string of questionable signings and nothing accomplished at the most pressing area of need. Is he a failure and a flop? Of course not. It’s not an all or nothing thing and I’m not advocating firing the guy. But c’mon. Take Los Angeles. They had areas of need. They filled them through some really good trades with some big name players. They were questioned at the time, and since, but they worked. How many trades did KH almost make? Who knows. But I can tell you how many quality trades he has made in recent years and it’s a very short list and looks a lot like the letter O. The for Brad Stuart is probably the last good one and that was in 2008.

Posted by awould on 06/09/14 at 04:35 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I don’t know VP, if Holland flipped Stuart and Flippula for future talent in return at their respective deadlines, the locker-room, coaches, and fan base would’ve been livid, maybe not flippula re: fanbase, but I think the majority of all of the above, thought they had a legitimate shot to advance to the top 4 both years.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 06/09/14 at 04:39 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

You guys are gonna make me defend Holland for a second (for a second).  Couple things…

You don’t just replace Nick Lidstrom. There’s no Magical Legend Oak, you just pluck a #5 from.  This is a once in a lifetime player.

Even a #1 replacement is unlikely. I mean how often do #1 defenseman in general hit the open or trade market, particulary post cap? Suter was it, we were very close.  Puff’noof? Bouwmeester? Who else?

Fans like to cite LA, Chicago and Pitt, but these teams sucked hard egg for a while, built a nice farm of top heavy pics, made trades at the deadline (a la stuart) for more, and gave up assets to get assets.  Did they pan out? Absolutely, watch what #1 finger Carter and Richards hold up for Philly when they win the cup again. But they gave up talent to get talent.  We wouldn’t have a kid line to go along with some average #2.

Not happy with Holland’s effort whatsoever, but can also understand. We may not like this, but keep the farm to develop the next team is his plan.


Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 06/09/14 at 04:50 PM ET


I don’t know VP, if Holland flipped Stuart and Flippula for future talent in return at their respective deadlines, the locker-room, coaches, and fan base would’ve been livid

Of course, it’s possible, but GMs have to make hard decisions to improve the team. Resigning players nobody else wants, I can do it too. I remember quite a few fans were in favor of trading those guys at the deadline. Stuart’s and Filpula’s games regressed considerably the last year they were here, so the chances of them helping us to get to the top 4 were pretty slim. I also love every player wearing red and white, but sometimes tough decisions have to be made and I am sure team leaders like Dats/Z/Kron also understand that we need to get something for the players who are definitely not coming back so next year or two we can be better. And we are talking solid players (Stu and Fil), but not game changers.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 04:59 PM ET


HockeyinHD - we are both reasonable people and want the best for the team we love, but how KH’s UFA and trades record can possibly be defended in the last 3-4 years?

Pretty easily if you look around the NHL and see how things are actually done.  If you just look at the Wings and the results on the Wings, then sure… it’s easy to be angry about it because Detroit hasn’t been a serious contender for like four whole years now.

I mean, it’s possible to be one of the best in the game and still be imperfect, right?  Datsyuk and Zetterberg have had bad games, weeks, months and years… and I don’t think inconsistencies mitigate expertise.

So sure, there have been some Holland moves that haven’t worked.  Sammy, the recent Cleary deal, those are probably the top two dingers.  He signed Dekeyser, Gustavsson, and most importantly he didn’t overpay on Leino, Hudler, and Fil just to keep them around (touching on the subject of creating logjams in front of prospects).

And all of that aside, the prospect system is so loaded now that kids the team would have killed to have 5-8 years ago can’t even get in the top 5 or 6 among other prospects at the same position.

but the bottom line is 90% of the moves in the years after Lids left did not help the team to get better.

Bah.  That’s hyperbole.  There have been moves that worked, moves that didn’t, trades that worked and trades that didn’t.  And then there have been the other sides of those issues, moves and trades NOT made that worked out just fine for Detroit (Richards, Ehrhoff, etc.) while some were missed (Suter and Parise).

That’s how it goes in the NHL generally, and doubly moreso in the recent past with the fluctuations and tribulations of the cap.

And by the way, losing Lidstrom and then Rafalski are not what I would call ‘easy fixes’.  I think we’d point out how instead of playing with great forwards if Datsyuk plays with Miller and Emmerton how that might make the load a bit heavier for Datsyuk.  Same deal with Holland.  Losing pillars on the blueline like Lidstrom and Rafalski (who, by the way, Holland signed in the first place as a UFA) isn’t something you should be reasonably expected to have a plan for.  I mean, what should Pittsburgh’s action plan for losing Crosby and Malkin be?  Same deal.  There isn’t one.

so many average and below average players have been signed to long term contracts

I have no idea what you are talking about.  There are exactly 9 players on the whole bleeping roster signed for 3 full seasons from today.  I guess you might be complaining about Glendening’s massive 628k a year 3 year deal or Miller’s 3 year 4 mil deal, both of which have accrued one year already… but come on.  Those deals are a) chicken feed b) for depth guys who aren’t standing in the way of scoring forwards and c) for depth guys who were decent to good.  I don’t think people are wanting to see Pulkinnen or Mantha brought up… and then killing penalties on the 4th line, right?

to me Hossa signing long term deal with the Hawks was the first sign that free premier free agents started to look at other teams as the teams to be if you want to win the cup.

Hossa and Franzen were UFA eligible at the same time, and Holland (allegedly) was negotiating with both to see who would sign first.  He could only keep one and Hossa wanted… well, he wanted pretty much the deal he got.  At the time had Holland given Hossa that deal he would have a) lost Franzen (cue chortles), but then also b) had to move Fil and clear another mil or so in cap space IIRC.  Giving Hossa a 5+ cap number at that time (I think that was when Z’s current deal kicked in) would have really squeezed the team.

Now, Chicago is entering the zone Detroit entered when the early RFA deals started to expire as Towes and Kane hit UFA status.  Watch and see who flocks to Chicago to not be able to get paid.  the timing on this stuff matters a lot.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/09/14 at 05:23 PM ET


A lot of readers agree that Holland knew something needed to be done to replace Lidstrom, Rafalski, Stuart, etc. and his plan was Suter and basically nothing else. When that failed, we were left high & dry. Quincey was apparently supposed to bring some relief and that failed miserably.

We finally have some Defensive prospects that show promise and while several of them may not actually become Top 4 quality at the NHL level, it’s a start. For me, the question is…. why did it take almost 10 years after the first lockout in 2005 to get to this position? And what is the plan to replace Z and Dats in a couple of years?

We all make mistakes. That’s how we learn.  So, what has Kenny learned?

Posted by Heresy from Aiken, SC on 06/09/14 at 05:44 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Of course, it’s possible, but GMs have to make hard decisions to improve the team.

Problem is, both were UFA’s, you would not have helped the team at the time. Holland would not have gotten current roster help.  Let’s say your Pavel, do you resign with a team that’s dumping its #3 dman or one of its top 6 wingers, going into the playoffs? I think that’s a pretty strong message that you’ve given up on this core.

Here’s a question that’ll bake your noodle, if you were in favor of those moves, i.e. those are moves a good GM would make. When are you moving Pavel?

To me, looking at this team, what we have, what we don’t have, magic man would fetch this franchise a nice return for the next generation of Red Wing hockey.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 06/09/14 at 05:45 PM ET


Maybe I am crazy to believe Babs is not the coach going forward for the Wings. Who knows? But Trotz’s message was no longer well-received in Nashville and he’s not that bad of a coach. Bylsma’s not terrible, but clearly he wasn’t getting much traction in Pittsburgh either.

Babs is obviously a great coach, but even great coaches lose their effectiveness after several years when they are dealing with the same group of players. As we get older, we become more set in our ways and set in the message that we deliver.

That is not generally a problem when you have a new group of players every year or two like in high school or college, which is why college basketball or football coaches remain successful (Saban, Coach K, etc.). But how many coaches accomplish that in the professional ranks year after year?

It’s definitely not the fault of the coach much of the time, but it’s undeniable that a given group of players will respond differently to a different message from a different coach. It happens a lot.  That’s why I think it’s time for a change.

Posted by Heresy from Aiken, SC on 06/09/14 at 06:05 PM ET


I totally agree .  It would be wonderful to land Yandle, Edler,  or Byflugien for the Wings , but its more likely going to be a Boyle or a Stralman.  The point I was trying to make is the Detroit hockey press has fallen into the pattern of mostly writing articles about the over the hill players the Wings should sign every off season.  They talk about the Boyles and the Ignilias but they never stop to analyze and discuss what the Wings might actually have to do, and part with, to gain a player with many good years in front of him and much upside.

And sadly,  the reality is how do we even know Detroit would be attractive to the likes of Boyle or Ignilia? While I wouldn’t be thrilled with either of them donning the Winged Wheel,  certainly each of them is going to want to go to a serious contender.  At this point we are more “wannabes”  than serious contenders.

I cannot believe all the Shea Webber talk in the blogs. I mean really?  This isn’t fantasy hockey but, at the same time., both the Kings and Rangers showed you can add players through trades and through the UFA route to help make you a contender.  Its almost as though Holland wishes to deny that now, and perhaps that’s more CYA than anything else. 

Regardless, I think every loyal fan is hoping we can add a couple players to make the team better next year.

Posted by karlander on 06/09/14 at 06:49 PM ET


But Trotz’s message was no longer well-received in Nashville and he’s not that bad of a coach. Bylsma’s not terrible, but clearly he wasn’t getting much traction in Pittsburgh either.

The difference though, is that Babcock had a decimated team this year and steered them into the playoffs.  Pittsburgh had a lot of injuries but had their best players available for most of the season and Nashville is just a crappy team that couldn’t score.

You can argue against Babcock all you want, but his two best players were out for a stretch and his team was half-filled with Griffins, and his GM made a trade at the deadline ensuring that the team would have one single NHL centre on the roster, and he got results.

Posted by Garth on 06/09/14 at 08:48 PM ET


Interesting that as unbeatable as the Kings look now, they were 1 game away from being swept in the first round. And as I said before, I really want Matt Greene…

Posted by VPalmer on 06/09/14 at 09:58 PM ET

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