Tough one tonight

Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban signs autographs for fans as he enters Rogers Arena for Tuesday’s morning skate.
Stubbs photo

They’re all tough lately.

But the Vancouver Canucks are REALLY good.

And the Canadiens haven’t won in Van since Nov. 30, 2000.

Martin juggles lines

Stubbs on Calgary game

“Classic” did nothing to showcase hockey – Hickey

Réjean Tremblay didn’t like it either

• Arpon Basu on decoding Martin

And thanks to video scout Jarred Friedman for the Sedin Twins playing the Newlywed Game




  1. Habfan29 says:

    Marino, now saying that we should have gotten Neal and Niksanen from Dalls for Webber, give me a break another smurf defencemen….Face it people we just do not have the horses to make deals. My goodness lets get some reality here our players as a whole are under performing and no one will trade with us. I do not want to get rid of any young roster players for a rental like phillips.

  2. Displaced says:

    Punkster’s rant about tanking means we need some definitions.  I suggest “tank” should mean a team that intentionally sucks for most of a season or multiple seasons to secure a top draft choice in one or multiple years.  That should differ from “inept”, which I suggest we could define as thoroughly incompetent management relative to the talents of individual players, lack of managerial acumen to run an organization; and/or the inability to understand the complexities of modern sport salary caps. 

    Applying these definitions, I would say Detroit and NJ were inept in the 1980s.  I would add that sucking in 1980s did little to help win Cups in the post-lock era two decades later.  In fact, they are franchises which most should use as examples of how to be successful in salary cap era.  Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  3. Mattyleg says:

    Yes, it certainly is. It’s nice to see a cheery grin on observer’s face!

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  4. punkster says:

    So did they consciously “tank”, throw games, lose on purpose or were they just crappy teams? You continue to use the word tank but then backpeddle with an explanation meaning trades and development. What do you want them to do David, throw games? Lose purposely? Cheat? Or do you truly view trades and development as our path to glory?


  5. Mattyleg says:

    I asked this yesterday, but the regular shower of posters wasn’t around, so I’ll throw it out there again.

    I would like to know something: Why do people think that Kirk Muller would do a better job than JM?

    I loved Kirk as a captain for the CH, he was great in many ways, and seems to be doing a good job as assistant coach. But why, why, why, do you think that someone who has exactly zero experience coaching in the NHL would be able to do a better job than one who has an enormous amount of experience and who took us to the Conference Finals last year?

    People must have pretty short memories to have forgotten already about how Carbo the Rookie worked out. The fact that he wasn’t able to get work in the NHL after that shows that nobody had confidence in him. How do you get people’s confidence? You coach at the junior levels. Where’s Carbo now? He’s in Chicoutimi coaching the Sagueneens.

    Where people think Muller will magically develop into a great coach is beyond me. He is extremely effective as an assistant coach. Why move him from a position where he is doing well? Can you see the parallels?

    And anyone who says “anyone is better than JM” should continue taking their pills in silence.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  6. SmartDog says:

    Wow, a real scoop for Plasticman!

    I can’t stand Dreger and 90% of what he says I knew last week.

  7. punkster says:

    Pretty good Dis. Can I also suggest in your definition: “”tank” should mean a team that intentionally sucks for most of a season or multiple seasons or the end of a season to secure a top draft choice in one or multiple years.”

    Not a big sticking point for me but I view any attempt to purposely lose at any time as being dishonourable. Maybe others don’t feel that way. Let’s see shall we.


  8. VintageFan says:
    • Gomez & Kostitsyn, Kostitsyn & Gomez.  Martin keeps using these guys as key parts.  But has anyone ever seen players who appear less interested in what they are doing?  Anyone?  The only valid reason for continuing to use these two guys extensively is, well, OK there is no valid reason….
    • Note to Brian Gionta – it’s OK to pass the puck rather than shoot the puck occasionally.
  9. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Do you really think someone who has payed in the NHL and been an assistant coach in the NHL as long as Kirk has,  has no idea whatsoever how to coach a team ? really? 

  10. punkster says:

    I don’t normally advocate violence but…wheeeee…that was sweet. Maybe if he got his elbow up just a touch higher it would have made the Kovalev-Tucker highlight reel satisfaction meter.


  11. Habitall says:

    Agree with your last point, but re. the trade between Dallas and Pittsburgh, I think Montreal could have gotten in on the action. Dallas is obviously salary dumping so they can re-sign Richards. That’s the only explanation I can think of for the trade. Given that, and the fact that they (like the Habs) probably are smart enough to know this isn’t their year, don’t you think we could have traded Weber and maybe a peripheral player/pick for Neal alone? Then Dallas still has Niksanen (sp?) they can trade in another deal — again, part of a salary dump.

    I like Weber, and think he could be special down the road, but if you’re looking for a power forward like Neal, why not swing that deal? And from Dallas’ perspective, is Goligoski that much better than Weber?


  12. punkster says:

    Won’t last.


  13. daveho29 says:

    Habs 3-1 over the nucks tonight. And hopefully I get my jersey signe by Squid

  14. Mattyleg says:

    Read what I wrote about Carbonneau.

    And I never said he had no idea whatsoever about how to coach a team.

    You did.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  15. TomNickle says:

    For anyone suggesting Muller would do a great job here.  I have some words.  Dave Lewis, Tony Granato, Guy Carbonneau.  Those are the three most notable assistant coaches to take over their teams.  They all fell flat on their faces.

    I think Kirk Muller will be a good coach, but it wont happen by him replacing Jacques Martin as an immediate replacement.  

    We may lose Muller in the off-season, and good for him if we do, because it means he’ll have improved his careeer and financial situation.  But just like Boucher this summer, I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon calling for a replacement for the sake of keeping a good coach, because we have one running the show already.

    Whether we want to make a deep playoff push consistently or develop our young players, we have the right guy in place to do both of those things.  The vets don’t have a problem with him, and the kids that do have proven to be unfit for this market all together.

  16. habs001 says:

    just throwing it out there and not sure the red wings would be interested in him but could ak46 become a significant player with detroit.

  17. Mattyleg says:

    I have one more word: John MacLean.

    I agree with you completely.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  18. twocents says:

    Man, you’re up and down like a yoyo.

    You might add some credibility to your position if you stuck with it through good stretches and bad. Every time the team wins 6 or 7 out of 10 you mothball the tank, only to ride it out again if things turn sour for a 5-6 game stretch.

  19. Timo says:

    Tough one? No?! What gave that away? Is it the fact that D totally sucks? Or that forwards suck even more? Or that The System is crumbling down? I know we can’t blame the coach or the Gomez but what about the rest of these guys?

  20. Displaced says:

    Painful but true. Kirk could be a great coach and I’m not a JM fan, but the Montreal bench is not a place to let any coach get his first head coaching gig.  If PG replaces JM at some point, I would like to see him bring in someone with new ideas, an uptempo system (hey, if you have to watch 82+ games…), willingness to be candid (to a point) with the media, and has a winning record… Hartley?

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  21. Miltie01 says:

    Does Dallsas want Weber ?

    Dallas is part of that equation too…..maybe they don’t like him as much as we do.

  22. Malreg says:

    Dallas probably wouldn’t even trade Niskanen for Weber straight up, let alone Weber+”peripheral player” or pick for Neal.  Weber may be good at some point, but he shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence as Goligoski. 

    Goligoski has 90 points over 177 career games, and is a +34 in the NHL.  Compared to Weber who has only played 39 games in the NHL and has 11 points to show for it.  Goligoski has as many points this year as Gionta and Cammy, and has 2 more points than Gomez and AK46. 

  23. Mattyleg says:

    He was the assistant coach of NJ for 7 years, then had one year in Lowell.

    I don’t really consider that ‘real’ experience…

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  24. Storm Man says:

    How does this system work?

  25. Displaced says:

    I’m with you on the Punkster.

    Here’s a much broader idea.  Why have draft positions at all?  Seriously. 

    It made sense when he had no cap and teams could hold players forever. In that world, a team could suck for decades and all they had to improve themselves was the draft.  So, the NHL and every other organized league set it up to draft in reverse order of finish. 

    With a cap in place, some revenue sharing and much more liberal player movement, every team has a similar and reasonable chance at winning.  So, randomize the draft order.  And then reverse it in alternating rounds, i.e. 1-30l then 30-1; 1-30, etc. Again, seriously.  There would be no reason for a team to purposely give up, “tank”.  On the other hand, it would make trading first rounders a total crapshoot and it would impair the marketing departments of losing team to build momentum in the off-season.  So Burke couldn’t wheel and deal and Tambellini would have to come clean and admit his team sucks.  But, hey, who said life is perfectly fair. 

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  26. habs001 says:

    last year in the playoffs we beat 2 teams that scored a lot more goals than we did and were not great d teams..both wash and pitts had players who had really high goal totals.. our team is still really the same type of team as last year so i believe the best match up for us would be tampa bay..while we have a good record vs boston they look like a different team than earlier in the year…their goal scoring is spread out to 4 lines..they have 3 fourth line players that individually have more goals than 3 of our fourth line players combined…boston scoring is even higher than their standing stats as they added more goals than they lost in their recent trades..their team d is just as good and probably better than ours…

  27. habs-hampton says:

    Quoting Brian Burke does nothing for your credibility.

  28. twocents says:

    I haven’t the time to read all your exchanges with HH recently, but to be fair, an approach that would include dumping players like Pleks, Cammy, Gionta, and Markov in return for serious picks and prospects to build around a core of Price, Subban and Pacioretty could be called tanking, in that it would effectively signal the end of a season, yet would still not involve any deliberate losing on the players’ part.

    Not that I am advocating this, but it is an approach that has been employed by teams in the past 

  29. Timo says:

    You know, I really really hate beating the dead horse but without MAB The System just… it just… well… it can’t work.

  30. Displaced says:

    I get your point.  But teams have to make legitimate moves to shed certain types of players/contacts at the deadline that will negatively affect their performance down the stretch.  I struggle calling that a “tank”. 

    Check out my post about randomizing the draft order.  It might address the situation.  Now, if we could only get the league to listen….

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  31. Habitall says:

    Obviously — I’m not saying Dallas would go for it, but my point is that Weber is an offensive d-man like Goligoski, with upside, and the scenario I suggested would not include Niksanen, just Neal. It’s plausible in my mind that Dallas would at least consider that.

  32. Displaced says:

    I have a strong gut feeling he’s going to end up in LA. Ultimately, they won’t move Schenn or Simmons, so they might as well settle for AK in exchange for a second (conditional first if they win two rounds) and a top d-prospect.  They have so many…

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  33. Everlasting1 says:

    Muller has the career, leadership, and credentials..not to mention gaining valuable experience playing second fiddle for some time now. His special teams have performed admirably under the circumstances, as well.

    Re Carbo, he led the 07/08 club atop the East, which I’d argue is a loftier accomplishment than an 8th place finish and winning an extra round in the post-season. I suspect the language barrier to be an issue with most clubs around the league in acquiring his services as head coach.


    Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  34. Displaced says:

    That’s the elephant in the coaching room.  Do we pick the best coach or the best bilingual coach?  Could Mike Babcock coach here?  How about Laviolette?

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  35. Habfan29 says:

    you have got to be kidding, MAB did not make the system work. I had a heart attack everytime he was on the ice….

  36. Habitall says:

    I can accept that. 

  37. HardHabits says:

    I never advocated purposely losing, cheating or throwing games.

    I am talking about building via the draft not trying to tweak our way into 8th place every year by giving up prospects and picks.

    And yes I look at teams in the 26th to 30th position over-all with envy, except Toronto of course because their pick is going to Boston.

    The problem with the Habs, and why I concluded the Habs need to tank, is that they have this stupid reputation to live up to. The glory days are over. The Habs are no longer the winningest franchise in pro sports. They are not in the elite of the NHL either. They are a small team that is easily injured and intimidated. This team is built to play on a European ice surface not in North America.

    They have a management that for too long has believed that getting to the play-offs is enough. Well. It isn’t!!!

    Being in the top 5 of the league is the place to be. Then you can say anything can happen.

  38. TomNickle says:

    Carbonneau was fired because he didn’t communicate with the players.  Now, there could be a number of reasons for that.  But I have no issue speculating that the reason he chose to be stand offish was because he felt he needed to send the message that he was no longer the shoulder to cry on, that he was now the boss.  In doing so, he would have over compensated in making the transition.  Which is one of the biggest reasons why assistants who move to the head coach position with the same team often fail.  

    Dave Lewis failed for the same reason.

  39. punkster says:

    Sure, like the league would listen to a bunch of interweb geek GMs 😉

    Random/lottery draft…always liked the concept as it doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t promote tanking. Luck of the draw.


  40. Mr. Habs says:

    The Sedin Twins are great no doubt about it. But they have been playing together on the same line since they were kids up til now. I would like to see how they would play if they were not on the same line or same team?

  41. HardHabits says:

    Say what you want about Burke. He’s a blow hard and he messed up big time with the Kessel offer sheet, but that quote is a gem and describes fully what the Habs have been for far too long.

  42. TomNickle says:

    Chara returning to dominant form has made Boston what they are.  Tampa is easily the best matchup in terms of teams at the top.  With the division still in reach, the Rangers would be the best matchup in terms of teams at the bottom.

  43. punkster says:

    Your first sentence…if that’s true then take down the white flag of defeat and raise the CH banner. Your position will then be much stronger.


  44. punkster says:

    Your point is taken. Your choice of players though…whoa 😉



  45. HardHabits says:

    I haven’t read your post yet but I’ve already proposed something in the past that goes like this:

    Make the top 5 picks a lottery between all teams. The last place team gets the 6th pick and the rest follow all the way down to the end.

    Teams the win and get into the lottery one year are out of the running until all other teams have had their shot and once all teams have had their luck at the draw throw back all the names in the hat again and start over. It guarantees a top 5 pick for every team once every six years.

  46. TomNickle says:

    I may be wrong but I can only think of two first round exits in the last 7 years.

    Kinda pokes a hole in your theory that this team just makes the playoffs to get blown out in the first round.

  47. Mr. Habs says:

    Didn’t I just say that they are great players? Spilt them up a see what they would be like is what I am saying.

  48. notbigbird says:

    whoosh … the sound of irony going over your head

  49. kmachabs27 says:

    were expecting another miracle in net….Halak was the main reason for those 2 series wins…..riding price and hoping hell make 50 saves a game…..not saying Halak is better then Price, hes not but it wont happen again.

  50. observer says:

    Re: “And the Canadiens haven’t won in Van since Nov. 30, 2000.”


    In other words since Gainey/Gauthier began assembling this huge Habs team in 2003 the Canadiens have never won a game in Vancouver.

  51. HardHabits says:

    He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.

    Sometimes Dave it’s best to stack your armies and let others slug it out and then when the moment is right you make your move.

    Have you ever played chess, Risk or Diplomacy? Risk has the dice, but still involves strategy and thinking ahead, so in a sense it makes a good analogy as there is some luck involved with winning the Cup. Of the 5 best teams in the league only one of them will go all he way though.

    Another thing, irony seems to be lost on you.

  52. TomNickle says:

    Dave Pagnotta of reported in his column this morning that the target in Nasvhille was Ryan Suter. 

  53. observer says:

    They GM was smart enough to figure out how to draft BOTH of them at the same time! Anyone know his name?

  54. Rudy says:

    I agree, the fact that he was able to swing that is impressive, makes me dislike him even more

    “Start the season with a clean equipment bag and a freah bucket of febreze!”-CharlieHodgeFan

  55. Jonson says:

    i honestly think they would play the same way.


  56. notbigbird says:

    I would have liked Kirk to strut his stuff in Hamilton. He’s had almost nil head coaching experience AFAIK. For that matter, I would have respected Guy had he done the same. I think he’s finally figured that he has to earn his spurs though. All that being said, it seems that we have the best guy as opposed to the best of either Guy’s in Hamilton.

  57. joeybarrie says:

    ‘Why do people think that Kirk Muller would do a better job than JM?’ as asked below…….

    Obviously Boucher was BETTER than any CURRENT COACH.

    Kirk Muller WILL be better than any CURRENT COACH WE HAVE.

    ANY player in the NHL is better than ANY current player we have.

    And of course ANY gm is better than the one we CURRENTLY have.

    The grass is ALWAYS greener, or should I say the Snow is ALWAYS whiter on the other side of the fence.

    Every single player will do better in Montreal than any player we are currently bashing. AS SOON AS WE ACTUALLY GET THAT PLAYER, he will cease to be better, and the next one steps up.

    Every single player in the history of the world has played better outside of Montreal and it has been the fault of the CURRENT coach every single time.

    EVERY SINGLE TIME that same coach goes elsewhere he AUTOMATICALLY does better, and we were stupid to get rid of them.

    The current GM is useless and anyone with a pad of paper and RDS or TSN on TV can absolutely do better. OF COURSE as soon as that same GM is gone, the new one will be worse than the last and we will forever be screwed and never ever win a Stanley Cup again.

    THATS WHY KIRK MULLER IS ALREADY A BETTER COACH THAN JM, and really we would be on track to the Cup if we would just let Muller take the lead and coach us. But of course PG and JM are the best of buddies and we all know that your buddy would never ever fire you………… RIGHT???? Wait….

    Until we get rid of PG and bring in PK SUBBAN as our GM will will never have a chance. I mean don’t you know that PK is already a better GM than PG and we really don’t want PK to go anywhere and get a better offer for the position.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  58. Mattyleg says:

    Echh… I know. Dick Irvin and Scotty Bowman did pretty well, mind you, but that was before the hyper-mediatisation of hockey, and ding-dongs chiming in with their opinions of what would be good for the team/city.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  59. Psycho29 says:

    Ok we need to lighten things up here today….

    Once upon a time long, long, ago there was a season when neither the Leafs nor the Canadiens made the post season playoffs.

     It seemed so unusual, that the management of both teams got together and decided that there

    Should be some sort of competition between the two teams because of their great rivalry.

    So, they decided on a weeklong ice fishing competition. The team that catches the most fish at the end of the week wins.

    So on a cold northern Ontario lake they began their contest.

    The first day after 8 hours of fishing the Canadiens had caught 100 fish and the Leafs had 0.

    At the end of the 2nd day the Canadiens had caught 200 fish and the Leafs 0.

    That evening the Leafs coach got his team together and said,

    “I suspect some kind of cheating is taking place”,

    So the next morning he dressed one of his players in Canadien colors and sent him over to their camp to act as a spy.

    At the end of the day he came back to report to the coach. The coach asked “Well, how about it, are they cheating?”

    “They sure are,” the player reported, “They’re cutting holes in the ice”.





  60. Everlasting1 says:

    That’s YOUR take. He was definitely more vocal behind the bench (as is Muller) than the conservative stiff, JM.  And don’t get me started on Gainey who single-handedly tanked the centennial year as coach, in all his pompous glory. 

    It’s the cap timers is the name of the game. How many more losing seasons are you willing to endure?


    Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  61. observer says:

    gauthiers done enuff damage the last 8 years that a bandaid solution wont repair. when molsons fires the duo along with boivin now in his final days – only then will this team be a contender again.

  62. Bugs says:

    As well as an embarrassingly witless host.

  63. Off-side says:

    Bravo to Hickey’s article today in regards to the anthem scandel.  I am seeing fragments here and there about the reaction of including the American anthem.  What the heck was that all about?  Why not play the Russian, Finnish, Tchech, Swedish and Swiss anthems while you’re at it?

    When will Canada stopped getting —– by the US?

  64. TomNickle says:

    When we have a losing season I’ll let you know.  Great post.  Well done.  You should be very proud of how well you articulate your arguments.  I especially enjoy the way you degrade some of the most respected people in hockey when doing so.  Great stuff.  Keep up the good work!

  65. Mattyleg says:

    Many great former players have the career and the leadership, but that means nothing when it comes to coaching. Most of the great coaches didn’t have either of those things, so it’s obviously not a pre-requesite. Muller doesn’t have the credentials yet. He has to be a head coach before he can have credentials.

    The language barrier has no bearing on other teams hiring Carbonneau. He speaks English extremely well. I have a significantly harder time understanding Brian Murray than Carbo speaking English. Don Cherry has got by pretty well too, for someone who seems to have only a passing grasp at language. You think Jacques Lemaire’s English was perfect when he started out? Think again.

    Carbo needs to prove that he can be a head coach. His communication skills (as Tom pointed out) need work. He was a great motivator behind the bench, as Muller is, but to make that transition from First Lieutenant to Captain of the ship is a tough one.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  66. t1tan5 says:

    Yeah, and the three years before that. You have a pretty weak argument here.

  67. Hobie Hansen says:

    OK, if so many people think that Boucher or Muller would make a better coach than Martin, why don’t they list some examples of where one of those rookie coaches may improve things over Martin, who has more NHL coaching experience than either one of those guys will probably ever have?

    What was the result prior to Martin arriving of rookie coaches in Montreal, hmmmmm?

  68. avatar_58 says:

    They played the canadian anthem at the winter classic, so that has nothing to do with it

  69. notbigbird says:

    This team is never or at least seldom in a position to tank, however you define it. If you can make the playoffs at this time of year you have to try. Tanking would take a committment from the summer onward, a kind of long range planning (which I think is what you’re really on about). You just can’t do it when you’re in the hunt.

    Sometimes, however, I do wish they would tank. It’s just not going to happen, though, so there’s really not much point in keeping on about it.

    I think better choices have to be made wrt FA signings, but we already know that players don’t prefer to come here, so we settle for seconds. On top of that, we seem to give up more than we get with almost every trade. It’s just blasted difficult to get out of this mess.


  70. TomNickle says:

    On the lack of communication thing.  That’s not my take.  That’s the reason he was fired.

  71. Bugs says:

    Guy buys himself a new house. Day he’s unpackin his boxes, the doorbell rings and it’s the neighbour. And the neighbour says “Hey, I’m your new neighbour. Guess you’re movin in, eh?” And the guy says “That’s right; just gettin my stuff out.” And the neighbour says “That’s great; listen, why don’t you come over to my place later? I’m havin a big party; there’s gonna drinking, drugging, effing, and fighting. Whaddaya say?” And the guy is like “Whoa! That sounds nuts. Yeah, alright, I’ll go. With pleasure. What should I wear?”

    And the neighbour says “It doesn’t matter; it’s just you and me.”

  72. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Saying whether or not Kirk would be a good, or succesful coach, is predicting the future.  None of his here have the ability to do that.  If we did we wouldn’t be here, we’d be busy counting our millions in lottery winnings.

  73. observer says:

    so you say gainey/gauthier have been even worse than houle/a. savard who could only lose 3 years in a row there?

  74. Mr. Habs says:

    Cal me Nuts, Crazy, loonie but I feel that Price could have beatin the Caps & Pens in last season’s playoffs. Halak did play great but had some stinkers as well. Halak had trouble against the Flyers just like Price has had trouble with the Flyers in the playoffs.

    Playoffs are a different season. The play seems to be more tight with less goals scored. maybe the Habs could have a chance this April/May against Philly.

    The Habs management should get Guy, Jean, Bob, Ken, Serge, Guy, Henry etc and sit down with our current squad and tell them what it means to be a Montreal Canadien.

  75. twocents says:

    They are core, to this team, but tanking in this sense involves building a new team, around a new core. 

    Obviously Markov is not tradable now, but he easily could be early next year, if he has a successful return to play.

    Trading AK, Moen, Pyatt, Spacek, or even Gomez is not really tanking since they are not core contributors or especially valuable. That would just be regular hockey business.

    Wiz could be considered that, if he wasn’t a UFA, as it stands his return in a trade is not likely to be very high. 

    And, in my previous post I wasn’t stating that all those players had to go to consider it a tank, but that some combination of them would indicate that approach.

    The premise is to use top talent to build a team for 3 years down the road. Pyatt and the other bunch are not top talent.

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