Liveblog: Canadiens sign Colby Armstrong, Francis Bouillon, Brandon Prust

Armstrong

Colby Armstrong, bought out by the Leafs, has signed a one-year contract with the Canadiens for $1 million.
Rugged Rangers forward Brandon Prust has signed a four-year deal with the Canadiens for $10 million.

And Francis Bouillon, a Michel Therrien favourite, is coming home to Montreal to shore up the defence corps.

The signings don’t put a huge dent dent in the Canadiens’ salary cap: Armstrong, one season for $1 million (the Leafs are still on the hook for another $1 million with his buyout); Frankie the Bull, one year for $1.5 million; Prust gets $3 million the first year, followed by two seasons at $2.5 million, then a final year at $2 million..

•  •  •

The D: Gorges, P.K., Markov, Emelin, Bouillon – plus Kaberle, Diaz, Weber, St. Denis.

Not the 1976 Canadiens, but there are worse defence corps in the league (hello, Leafs!)

•  •  •

Armstrong has injury issues. Sprained ankle and a concussion last season.

But he’s a lifelong Canadiens fan who says signing is “a dream come true”.

The Gordie Howe Rule: You can NEVER have too many players from Saskatchewan.

Canadiens have two: Moen and Armstrong.

Former Armstrong Penguins teammate on Twitter: Congrats to @armdog for his signing avec les Canadiens ! He will fit great there! #salut! #bestteamguy

Forwards with sand? Check.

Lack of depth at LW? Check.

Rugged Dman? Check.

And of course:

1,057 Comments

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  5. Mike11 says:

    I like the signings
    More toughness and grit – don’t need to have Georges come to the rescue.
    It was the HABS who stopped the Broad Street Bullies in ’76 by beating them at their own game in their own rink.
    Habs were weak last year in the “toughness” department. Habs need players to stand up to the Bruins and Phillies.
    Good start
    Also, Therrien will be a good, hard coach and so will his assistants. Players will not come off a shift without sweating – no coasting here (Gomez)!
    The tough players will allow the offensive guys to be more confident in their game.
    As Conn Smythe said “If you can’t beat them in the alley, you can’t beat them on the ice”.

    Mikee

  6. vegas says:

    not really crazy about the Boullion pick up
    we need a big right side guy to play 3rd D pairing with Kaberle

    Left
    Markov
    Groges ( can play some right but better on left)
    Emeilin ( much better on left)
    Kaberle plays left only
    Bouillon only ever saw him play left
    St Denis 7th dman

    right
    PK
    Webber unwanted
    Diaz too small

    i just dont want to see guys playing their off wing and looking weak

    Tinordi Beaulieu and Nash are left too
    Ellis and Thrower are right but i see them further down the line

  7. SnowManHabs85 says:

    Its funny how, TSN Poll on who will make the biggest splash on opening day FA, the players on the list havent even been signed by a team today yet.

    “Responding to the media , or playing to the media, or listening to the fans is the quickest way to start losing” – Sam Pollock

  8. Pucknut says:

    I like Bourque. I’m willing to give him another go ’round. Don’t forget his first game with Montreal he had to answer the bell with Caps’ Matt Hendricks. He’s no wallflower either.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbCByN2epSE

    • Shane1313 says:

      Ya people got on him too quick, give him a shot!

    • alwayssunny says:

      He arrived when there was a lot of chaos going on. A puppet GM clinging to a regime and making irrational firings and trades. Even when he was slouching in Calgary he still notched goals. If they can light a fire under his ass he can be a really productive player. The Flames and their fans ran out of patience but I’ll give him a mulligan even as disinterested as he seemed here. That’s a brutal contract if he doesnt get with the program though. As for his fight with Hendricks, it was all downhill from there. He had no choice, he had to answer for a cheap shot he delivered. If there was any justice he would have got his ass kicked. If I see him doing that in defense of a teammate and not himself I’ll give him kudos for it though.

  9. lgc_liam says:

    Impressive

  10. frontenac1 says:

    Who said Jimmy Roberts?He’s Fish Face! Pride of Port Hope Ont! Hola!

  11. LA Loyalist says:

    Wow. Having watched the two Armstrong videos “Yes, please, I’ll have some.”

    You hate to see anyone get really hurt, but Letowski shouldn’t have been admiring his pretty pass…

    Can’t wait to play the Leafs. Especially after Armstrong stating the Habs were his favorite team. :-) that’s worth diamonds to piss off Burkie :-)

    • Forum Dog says:

      Good to see Armstrong on the roster, but somehow I doubt he gets full-time duty.

      The guy is known for dirty hits though, and the Letowski one was terrible. As long as he has put that part of his game behind him, he should be a useful cog for the Habs.

  12. Mad Habber says:

    I’m curious to know what/if (for those who where all for him a few months ago) Shawn Thornton had became a ufa today how much they feel he was worth? Is 2.5 mil too much?

    He and Prust had very similar numbers, (Prust had five more assists and was a better plus/minus player). Prust is also six years younger. According to hockeyfights.com both Thornton and Prust had the most fighting majors with 20.

    Thornton will be making $1.1 mil. next season and I would venture to guess he would be making more if he hadn’t re-signed with the Bruins. Everyone was wanting Thornton, well Prust is in the same vein. If he can do what Thornton does for the Bruins nobody is going to complain about his $ or term.

    Prust VS Thornton
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzqmPSLe_s8

  13. HabFab says:

    New post people.

  14. slapshot777 says:

    Al’s playing like the Habs last season. Defense leaking like a sieve. Could run a train through some of their defensive schemes.

  15. steve17 says:

    Blunden has resigned so I gues the right side will be;
    Cole, Gionta, Armstrong, Blunden.

    Now on to the left side,

    Patches, ?, Moen, ?

    Habfan17

    • SlovakHab says:

      Both Prust and Armstrong are listed as LW/RW on TSN website and I am pretty sure I’ve seen Armstrong play LW a lot.

      LW – Pacioretty, Borque, Armstrong, Moen
      RW – Cole, Gionta, Leblanc, Prust

  16. HabFab says:

    Als not looking good…25-7.

    • habsfan0 says:

      The Als have lost both their offensive and defensive coordinators from the Grey Cup years.

      After contending for the better part of a decade, it appears the inevitable decline has started.

  17. HabFanSince72 says:

    2008-2012 Spain – greatest national football team since Zico and Socrates hung up their cleats.


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  18. JayK-47 says:

    Does this team have enough penalty killing talent to let Pleks play offense this year?

    It KILLED me to see how he was run down the last few seasons. I’ve been a working man most of my life, so I can appreciate how much energy that guy was burning, he was usually on E by the middle of the 3rd.

  19. TommyB says:

    I don’t understand all the excitement for most on here today. Yes, I like each individual player picked up today. But collectively, the Habs lineup isn’t dramatically improved. True, a decent amount of grit has been added, but this was a team that struggled to score goals. A quick check of the guys signed today (if anybody needed to check) will tell you that the inability to score goals has not changed.

    What I do see, is a change in philosophy. The admission, finally, that the Habs were way too soft. The previous administration would never admit to such. So things are moving in the direction of improving that aspect of the roster. And when you look at the kind of money that the very skilled players are going to be getting, the Habs are better off to sit this one out. Bide their time, and wait for the talent in the system to work it’s way to the big club. They have improved an aspect of the roster that screamed to be addressed, and at very little cost. For that, I am thankful. The far greater aspect of scoring goals remains to be remedied, and for that I’m afraid we’ll have to wait a while longer.

    So, on day one of free agency, I think Bergevin has done well. He has improved the club, but hasn’t sold the farm. And he’s left himself room for roster improvement by other means, perhaps by a trade. To get something, you have to give something. That’s where it gets tricky. I can handle it. Can you?

    One final word, regarding the Jagr rumours…….pffttt! Is that a word?

    • HabFab says:

      Words of wisdom here!

    • JayK-47 says:

      Sure, not much goal scoring was added, but much needed lead holding was.

    • Bill says:

      We do need more scoring. Even if Gionta is healthy … well, someone else will get injured. And even if Therrien can get Bourque going … well, someone else will have an off year.

      But looking at the line-up, I don’t see where offence is going to be added. They could upgrade on Bourque, but how many more goals is that going to get us?

      Biggest way to improve the offence is to get a PP shooter: the Habs don’t lose all those one-goal games last year with a half-decent PP. Not too many shooters out there though …

      Full Breezer 4 Life

      • TommyB says:

        No doubt improvement on the PP would improve the offence. I think with a healthy Markov in the lineup, the PP should be much better. But still, 5 on 5, this team cannot score enough goals.

        I will say, that I think JM’s infamous system had something to do with that. I think his system had a choke hold on offensively minded players. Will Therry’s system be any better? Time will tell.

      • LA Loyalist says:

        As I posted elsewhere, we should score more goals by being tougher overall because we’ll be able to protect the puck and crash and bang better in front of the net, and have a better breakout from our end.

        Will we score a bunch of highlight goals, pretty Kovalev rippers from the top of the circle? Unlikely, but they all count, and as the poster above said, our ability to hold a lead, should we obtain same, should improve, too.

        Are we impatient for Alix G? Of course. But patient we must be. :-)

    • HabinBurlington says:

      In reading your comments Tommy, isn’t that exactly why we should be excited? The farm was not sold, no prospects moved out, change in philosophy from mgmt on how this team should play and that is refreshing.

      • TommyB says:

        Refreshing, yes! And encouraging. But I’m not quite willing to become excited yet. Didn’t you expect a change in philosophy? I did. It’s a great start, absolutely. But it was what I expected. Fourth line players, third at best. I think they are all good ones. It’s the offensive output of the first two lines that is holding this team back….or holding me back. ;)

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I hear you, but I expect our recent drafts to help there and maybe trades over the next two years. I have no expectations of this team making noise this year. We are in developmental mode right now. Next summer, next season, then we make the significant offensive changes.

          And we do hopefully get healthy Marov and Gio, that is a big offensive upgrade from lastyear.

          Tommy, I hear you buddy! :)

          • TommyB says:

            Truth is, I may not be very excited now…but when they drop the puck opening night, I’ll be in front of the TV as excited as a 7-year old kid. That’s one thing that really never changes, eh. Over the summer, I can afford to be more…laid back, umm, philosophical, er, cold, calculating….LOL

    • mrhabby says:

      TB…by this time next year i think the team will look alot different by way of offense via trades. MB is far from done reshaping this roster.

  20. rogieshan says:

    Still waiting for the confirmation of that rumored Kane & Hjalmarsson blockbuster.

  21. Caper says:

    Garrison a Canuck.

  22. Wow Garrison signs with the Canucks. He had 16 goals last year.

  23. LA Loyalist says:

    Hey guys, watch the Colby Armstrong hit on Koivu. Today that would be a bad hit, but the interesting part is how Souray goes right after him.

    I miss Souray, I know he had issues and wanted to go out west, but man the guy was stones as a team mate.

  24. topher5468 says:

    As i live in New York, All my Ranger fan friends are extremely upset at losing Prust. Sure, he’s not gonna score 30 goals or 100 points. However, the mans dedication to his team is something us Habs fan are gonna appreciate. It’s not our money, and thats what seems to bother people. The man was incredible this post season, blocking shots, killing penalties and protecting his teamates. We are gonna be a tougher team to play against. I like that. Sure , we are not goona be the flying french men, but it’s 2012, not 1977.

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

    • LA Loyalist says:

      That’s a pretty good commendation. I do the same thing as most of my friends are Hawks or Caps fans. If anything comes up with a player from those teams we might be considering, I ask what the word is.

      When some of us were floating the possibility of getting Semin, obviously a highly skilled guy, I asked and the review are 100% thumbs down. When you see a guy every night it’s different, just like you see a lot more at the rink.

      I’m happy to see Souray go to the Ducks. Hope he does well.

  25. Souray signs 3 year, $11 M deal with Anaheim Ducks.

  26. golesboys says:

    Long-time reader; very rare poster. Could it really be that Boone is leaving? Are the rumors true? Too bad for us who follow HI/O, especially “About Last Night”…replacing Boone would involve some combination of Leonard Cohen, the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton, and St. Augustine. In other words, impossible…

    • LA Loyalist says:

      I suggest we make a ball$ up offer to Hunter S. Thompson. He’s the only ink-stained wretch I can think of who could wrangle the commentariat.

      Guys?

      • golesboys says:

        Hadn’t thought about him…sounds excellent. If only they hadn’t shot him out of a cannon…

        • LA Loyalist says:

          Man, you guys… just because a guy’s dead. Though if we were picking dead guys maybe Hemingway… no… he worked for the Toronto Star so we can’t have him… Morley Callaghan. Now there’s a writer and a good Montreal boy to boot.

  27. hockeyscout101 says:

    In regards to Lars Eller, I have heard his name pop up in trade talk…I know that MB likes Steve Ott and covets him, and you trade a centre for a centre that includes Eller plus a package (Heard the games of Diaz, Weber floating out there). This is not a rumour…this is a theory…

  28. Bill says:

    Interesting day!

    Bouillon has always been a character guy, and if he plays with Kaberle, I think that is infinitely preferable to having Diaz with Kaberle. Of course, maybe Kaberle is traded – he’s an affordable player with the latest round of inflation – and Bouillon plays with Diaz or Weber. Either way, an improvement. You KNOW the Bull is not gonna let somebody get in Price’s house, and anyone who has followed the Habs long enough knows that Bouillon is fearless and can throw down with anyone. Not many people enjoy fighting him.

    Armstrong is an excellent gamble. Nearly a .5 ppg player who endured a nightmarish season last year. He can put up points in the right situation and he’s just incredibly irritating to play against. Doesn’t really fight much – but he will if he must, couple times a year – but that doesn’t stop him from going to the dirty areas and driving his opponents crazy. He’s an RW, so I think you can safely that Leblanc is in Hamilton this year, assuming Armstrong makes the squad. I have no problem with that.

    Prust is intriguing. He’s an LW, so there’s obviously a spot for him, probably on the fourth line. He’s an agitator, he’s mean, and he’ll fight anyone, anytime. Not a heavyweight, but most of the Habs’ troubles in the physicality department aren’t from heavyweights, but from middleweights who ACT like heavyweights when they play the Habs, because no-one pushes back. Well, not anymore. Best of all about Prust, he’s non-stop, always in the middle of the action, and he’s proven to be an effective defensive player and a good penalty killer.

    Man, this is a different team already. We still really need to deal with Gomez, get a scoring LW, and a point-shooter, but these are intriguing moves for sure.

    As it stands:

    Pacioretty – Desharnais – Cole
    Bourque – Plekanec – Gionta
    Moen – Eller – Armstrong
    Prust – Nokia – White

    Subban – Gorges
    Markov – Emelin
    Bouillon – Kaberle

    Not a lot of softness out there! Not a lot of offence on the bottom six, either, but the third line could surprise.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

    • golesboys says:

      That is indeed a solid team. One that, if coached well, will be hard to play against and should be competitive on any given night. Great stuff; I’m just hoping that we’ll have a season next year.

    • boing007 says:

      I never understood why the Habs traded him in the first place.

      Richard R
      Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      The wild card, or one of them, is Bourque. If he can do what he’s capable of, fairly consistently, it will really help. And Gionta needs to bounce back.

      I don’t much like him, one smurf is plenty and for me that’s DD, but Gio’s less of a problem now that we’ve gritted the team up some.

  29. JayBee says:

    And people didn’t think the Habs were soft as baby poop.

    The moves today should show some of the pacifists that this team was getting physically outclassed for many years.

    Glad to see 3 guys who are tough, play physical and play hard added to the squad.

    Need to add a top 6er somehow and a 2nd pairing dman.

    The book is out on Bergy, but so far he’s far and away better than Gauthier who is quite possibly the worst GM that we’ve seen in the last 20 years.

    • Bill says:

      I say it every time, and will continue to say it every time: Rejean Houle was the worst Habs GM of any era. No question. Sometimes when I have a particularly difficult bowel movement, I swear the sound my body makes sounds just like “Houuuuulllllllllee”.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

  30. hockeyscout101 says:

    Bergevin now has to figure out what to do about Kaberle, Gomez and Bourque. Bourque is tradeable (not for much), while Gomez and Kaberle are basically stuck or you send them to Hamilton. I don’t see Kaberle in the plans for the Habs. You can possibly trade him to a team that needs to get to the cap floor. Gomez will probably be put on waivers or sent to Hamilton aka Wade Redden style.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      I think we give Bourque a shot, new coach, new culture. Crap we gave up Cammi for him. If we trade him for a 12th round pick it means we basically got nothing for Cammi.

      If he’s still a dud at Christmas, yeah, I’ll throw in some Canadian Tire money for the rope.

  31. frontenac1 says:

    Agreed Commandant/re Burke. He is a total blowhard, but I do respect his honour ,character and guts.

  32. hockeyscout101 says:

    For all those fans that think Blunden will be a regular with the Canadiens come October, you have another thing coming. He will bring stability and veteran leadership to Hamilton and maybe play dozen or so games wtih the Canadiens. MB and MT are still not done yet.

    One dman that is still out there that nobody talks about is Jim Vandermeer. Salary was 1million last year. Good tough player, takes no prisoners and brings his lunch pale to work everyday.

  33. neumann103 says:

    Am i insane or is Prust a left shot who just happens to like playingon gr Right side?

    I understand that with offensive talents like Cole or Jagr you are taking something of their game away if you move them yo the “correct”side but with Prust why not?

    Surely he is intended to be the third line left wing? DID i hear that therein

    “Et le but!”

  34. habs001 says:

    How do the penguins have so much cap room to go after parise..he would probably not sign here but if the habs will be a much better team in 2013-2015 why not at least be in the hunt for him…he will not be available in 2 years and he still should be a highly productive player..

  35. boing007 says:

    Spain played their best game ever. Masterful precision.

    Richard R
    Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  36. frontenac1 says:

    Nice! I liked Blunden last year.He gave it all,every shift.For all you Burkie fans, He is coming up on sportsnet.Should be funny.

  37. boing007 says:

    Burke on Hockey Central after commercial break, 7:30 P. M.
    Guess he should have gone to Marineland after all.

    Richard R
    Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • commandant says:

      I don’t agree with the Leaf fans who are bashing Burke for participating in the Gay Pride parade today.

      Fact is the guy has a cell phone and about 4 assistant GMs.

      He is reachable if needed and it only takes an hour or two.

      Criticizing him for honouring his son is silly, and I’m no fan of Brian Burke and have bashed him repeatedly for his hockey moves.

      Go Habs Go!
      NHL Free Agency and Trade Analysis now.
      Team By Team Prospect Reports coming soon
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

      • Kooch7800 says:

        I think their anger is more over the lack of playoffs in so many years that they want to see someone 150% invested in fixing it.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        There are other opportunities to honour your son, 364 other days of the year.

        If you’re a NHL GM you can miss July 1 to attend the funeral of your son, or the birth of your son. You cannot miss July 1 to go to Afghanistan or march in a parade, however worthwhile the cause, cellphone with full bars or not.

        ———————————————————————–
        June 22: Alex Galchenyuk [x]
        June 23: Stefan Matteau, Mike Matheson, Martin Frk, Brandon Whitney
        June 2429: Travis Moen [x]
        June 2627: Mathieu Darche
        June 26: Ryan White
        June 30: Alexei Emelin
        July 1: P.A. Parenteau, Taylor Pyatt
        July 3: Shane O’Brien
        July 5: Carey Price
        July 9: P.K. Subban

        http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  38. Great signing in Prust…we need a tough left winger.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Prust sucks.


      Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

      • I understand price tag is high but he kills penalties and adds grit. Much better than any other bottom 6 forward we had in the past such as Pyatt, Darche, Palushaj, Engqvist etc.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Interesting, which aspect of his PK work, forechecking or grit is that sucks?

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          Don’t mind me. I grew up watching Lafleur and Cournoyer.


          Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

          • Cal says:

            Didn’t see Jimmy Roberts or Doug Jarvis?

          • HabinBurlington says:

            So at what point today did MB or anyone else pretend we signed the second coming of Laleur and Cournoyer, and don’t mind me, but I also grew up watching them.

            Come on bud, you are a bright guy, no one is saying these are 1st, 2nd and barely 3rd line moves. But the philosophical change, the help in protecting the better players is a wonderful step.

      • topher5468 says:

        I’d love to hear your thoughts on why he sucks.

        “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  39. HabFanSince72 says:

    If Mr Boone wants unsolicited advice, and if he really is retiring, he should start his own personal hockey blog. I’m sure most of us would move there if the discussion forum was active.


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  40. HabFab says:

    Canadiens now have 47 players under contract or qualified for next season. Still about $3,000,000 left in the coffers.

  41. neutral says:

    things is looking good but MB still hasn’t picked up a real scorer. yes we’ve gotten tougher but if we don’t score more. toughness is not the only thing that wins games. pucks in the net is what counts.
    armstrong if he stays healthy will add a few more goals to the bottom six. but we need one more MB and barring injuries we should have a very entertaining team….No push overs this year.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Scoring comes from having the puck. Mais non? Ergo, you need the puck. Ergo, you need to GET the puck, which means you generally have to get it off the other guy who HAS it. That means speed, to match speed with the guy, smarts, to anticipate his moves, and TOUGHNESS to succeed in getting the puck. Once you have it, then you can throw it at the net or pass it to one of your guys with the soft hands.

      Having small pretty skaters who can’t protect the puck and advance it against guys trying to smack them into next week is pretty much useless, as we have learned to our pain thanks to Bob The Builder.

      Is that clear enough? A good team has TEAM toughness, is hard to get off the puck, hard to play against. Yes, it has a mix of grinders and finesse guys, and are we short of finesse? Of course we are, but upgrading our grinders (which we are) will help at both ends of the ice, and if our grinders can bang in a few, also. Hey, we are Molson Golden ™.

  42. boing007 says:

    Prust, Armstrong, Boullion. Ready to kick some ass.

    Richard R
    Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Not much skill there.

      Remember, there was a time the Habs were known for their speed and skill at the game of hockey.


      Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        Still need a left winger. MB isn’t done yet but I think he addressed some issues. We know have a decent bottom 6.

        the thing I like about MB is he only picks character guys and not floaters….this team has had problems with floaters for the last few years

        “Like Canadian Hip hop..check us out http://www.groovecontrolmusic.com

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          Isn’t that what Gainey did during the great purge? Signed only players who had won the cup: Gomez, Gionta, Gill, Moen, etc…

          Brandon Prust? $2.5M? Are you kidding me?


          Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

          • HabFab says:

            Wonder how Moen feels right now??

          • Kooch7800 says:

            Gainey when he did the purge put in character guys but they were all two small to work on the same team..Cammy, Gio, Gill and Gomez character showed on that cup run.

            The difference is the toughness has been added to the bottom 6. Armstrong for 1 mill is a steal and 1.5 for frankie is not so bad either. Prust can put up about 15 goals a year and is very similar to Moen

          • HabFanSince72 says:

            Brandon Prust has 24 goals in 279 games. That’s 7 goals/yr.


            Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

      • boing007 says:

        No, but lots of beef.

        Richard R
        Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

      • LA Loyalist says:

        Yes, but we had hard-nosed guys on those teams, too. Bowman always platooned half a dozen guys in a backroom and a couple of them would dress depending on the game. It could be a Pierre Larouche if we needed goals (can you imagine having Pierre Larouche and not even really needing him?) or adjust the other way going into Boston or Philly.

        Of course no one can do that anymore, but the judgement to balance grit and skill is critical to success just as much today as back then.


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