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Morning Java: Kings show how it’s done in Game 3

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

BOSTON — Morning, Lunatics, from the newest stop on the tour …

>> No column this morning, as mentioned yesterday. There had been a few days in a row, and we’re about to go with another few days in a row, so the timing was good.

>> There was, of course, a TribLIVE Radio podcast yesterday, featuring my special guest Jarvis  Jones of the Steelers, as well as good stuff on the Pirates from Rob Biertempfel in Atlanta.

Here’s video of the opening rant on tonight’s Game 3 …

And on that same note, let me toss out a tap of the stick to the Kings for displaying something more clearly than anyone could through math: Game 3 matters.

Just like that, with one sound, characteristic victory in their mold, the Kings cut the Blackhawks lead in the Western final to 2-1, with Game 4 also set for the Staples Center.

Yes, the Kings won their Game 3 in Los Angeles. But to imply that the Penguins need to be at home to gain some kind of traction — never mind momentum — in this series is to utterly ignore what Consol Energy Center is like in the playoffs anytime the home team faces even a sliver of adversity.

Why would you want the Penguins playing there right now?

Can anyone else who was in the building Monday night attest to how that place died a thousand deaths with Brad Marchand’s first-shift goal?

Can anyone else who has spent any amount of time at Consol ever recall a truly positive vibe in a tight playoff situation there?

I’m not saying the Penguins will take Game 3. That would be a silly forecast to make after what we all saw Monday. But I am saying that, if they do take Game 3, this most definitely is a series again.

Our full Penguins coverage for the day …

>> Five steps to salvaging the series, by beat man Rob Rossi

>> Jarome Iginla is adamant this isn’t over, by Josh Yohe

>> Dan Bylsma promises changes, by Yohe

>> The real deal David Krejci, by Kevin Gorman

>> Complete playoff photo gallery, by our Chaz Palla and Chris Horner

>> More on the Bruins from our news partners at the Boston Herald

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls>> Another tough loss at Turner Field for the Pirates, one that resulted in 10th-inning-winning-RBI man Andrelton Simmons being carried off by Jason Heyward (seen over there to the right). It’s all described by Biertempfel

>> I brought up the topic of Francisco Liriano’s contract and how it’s been inaccurately portrayed, and Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal nailed the details yesterday: The truth is that Liriano is guaranteed $9.125 million for this season and next if he stays off the disabled list for 120 days specifically as it relates to his non-pitching right arm that was broken in the offseason.

That’s already a non-issue, unless the guy goes banging another door somewhere.

So, if anyone wants to measure what level of bargain Liriano is, do it off the correct number — a $9.125 million figure that still could get higher based on incentives — than the $1 million some had been floating.

>> Get ready for baseball to be rocked yet again by steroids. That could mean suspensions of up to 100 games for Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and about 20 others.

Braun and Rodriguez already are pretty much loathed in Pittsburgh, especially Braun, but let me ask you this: How would you feel if one of the Pirates showed up on that list?

Only asking, of course. Not like it won’t be crossing everyone’s mind upon reading that.

 >> I’m set to go all Steve McLendon all the time once the Steelers get going, but Alan Robinson takes the topic in moderation from yesterday’s OTAs.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. theplanisworking says:

    The following is Bizrow’s post regarding game 3 tonight.
    Anyone who posted on this please re-post here.

  2. theplanisworking says:

    Ok, its 1979, me and my wife, Norma, and my son Chris, went to like 43 or so games at the end of the season, sitting behind the Cobra sigh. What a great time, Chris was 3.
    So game 4 of the World Series, we got smoked. I was totally crushed, we got ridiculed by some Balty fans, I went home and just went to bed, thinking, I want the world to see what this club is all about. We stayed at my Mom’s and Dad’s. My Dad even came up to see if I was OK
    The next day, Jim Rooker pitches a game of his life.
    Here’s the message, and sorry to be so babbly to get there.
    The Pens will show their class, or they might not..
    I’m not giving up.
    The fat lady knows, and she is sitting back down, she is just stretching.
    Just about dam anything can happen

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Well said, Biz.

  3. theplanisworking says:

    This was originally posted in yesterday’s Pirate game thread.

  4. Kris says:

    The Penguins actually sometimes seem to do considerably better on the road compared to at Consol. I know Sidney doesn’t like the ice at CEC, in addition to the crowd/fan issues. I can see how it’d be a frustrating place to play if you want to do well for the fans and you can’t make things happen and it feels like everything is fighting you including the ice surface. And frustration seems to result in the Pens playing mind games with themselves instead of playing hockey, so.

    (I mean, that’s not an excuse for how things went in the last game – obviously they CAN play well at Consol, they’ve done it, and during these playoffs even. But I think there is a Consol Factor to be considered.)

    And now I will resume hiding from hockey coverage because I’m sure there are still people going on and on and on and on about goaltending and I was sick of it BEFORE the last game, so imagine how I feel now. Ugh.

  5. Ghost says:

    Yeah, I enjoyed reading this post yesterday and even added my own two cents. Now it’s here, and not there. What did I miss? Fantasia hippos moving the furniture around?

    Anyway, great and very timely post, Biz. In fact, ANYTIME is a great time to invoke the ’79 Fam-i-lee.

  6. JoeyBats says:

    DK: “How would you feel if one of the Pirates showed up on that (PED) list?
    *
    Response: Suspend the PED users, the druggies, the steroid freaks for the balance of this season and NEXT season. Send them a message ==> TIME TO CLEAN UP THIS NONSENSE.

  7. Drew71 says:

    If a pirate is one of the 20 named, I would feel disappointment, and I would want him to receive exactly the same punishment as others in his “class” of wrong-doing. If that’s 100 games, so be it. I’d show him the door for 100 games and not bemoan his loss.

    When game 101 pops up and he’s back, I’d welcome him. Because I believe that crimes have punishments and consequences, but not necessarily lifetime sentences.

  8. Drew71 says:

    What message does it send when the union wins every one of those appeals and gets them all back into the game because in your scenario the CBA punishment schedule was ignored?

    That approach feels good for a minute, sore the next day from the chest pounding, and lousy forever after when the result is overturned and exactly the opposite desired outcome is achieved.

  9. Drew71 says:

    Is it possible that no other Pittsburgh team will win another game?

    Ever?

    EVER?

    (There. That oughta fix it.)

  10. Jäger fan for life says:

    Well stated Drew!
    Agree with the “not necessarily lifetime sentences” – unless of course that individual was one of the Yinzer nation in the stands at Consol booing their ineffective Pens team Monday night.
    What a bunch of useless band wagoners. When things are going well they feel entitled to the Stanley Cup, but when they team is struggling they’ll even throw Crosby under the bus.
    Did the Hawks fans do the same when they were down 3 – 1 against Detroit?
    I would be curious if DK ever hears hockey fans in Canada ever boo their home team like that.

  11. Thundercrack says:

    Reading the story on Liriano’s contract I am still not coming up with $9.12 million.

    I’m disappointed that there was no response to my questions on the podcast thread.

  12. Drew71 says:

    Jags, I’ve moved around a lot for my career. Seen professional events in many cities. What Dejan describes occurs in virtually very city that has professional sports teams, and occasionally at the college level.

    I lived in Philly for two years. They booed when they were winning. Seriously, I saw it. Including a game I attended during the Sixers’ Moses Malone championship year. A game they WON. In fact were ahead most of the game. Yet it was an unkind crowd. I never went back to a Sixers game.

    While no one matches Philadelphians (luckily), i saw the same in my other career stops in other cities.

    I’m not saying Dejan’s observations of Consol are inaccurate. Just irrelevant. Unless we think the Pens are thinner skinned than professional players just about anywhere else.

    I AM NOT CONDONING THE PRACTICE OF BOOING THE HOME TEAM. In fact, I dislike it.

    I’m just saying:
    – it is everywhere in sports, not just In Consol
    – which makes it irrelevant

  13. Jandy says:

    I’m not giving up either, and thanks for the added optimism!

  14. Jandy says:

    +1

  15. Jandy says:

    but is it sustainable??

  16. Drew71 says:

    It must be. Since it’s the fans’ fault.

  17. Jandy says:

    Well, now, that shows that SOME things are sustainable!

  18. Dom says:

    Who does everyone think will be in goal tonight?

    I think it will be Fleury.

  19. radio wave says:

    I am concerned about the Bucs. Is this the beginning of a June swoon?

  20. Dom says:

    Probably

  21. drwaido says:

    I think you are correct. I would prefer to see TV with the pens playing much much better Def in front of him. Not sure Fleury can get the job done even with better def in front of him.

  22. pattonbb says:

    Sounds like the Yankees would like nothing more than to see A-Fraud ride off into the sunset. I think he’s done. I hope he’s done.

    Cryin’ Ryan deserves everything he’s about to get, too. He can play the “victim card” all he wants. Anyone with half of a brain knows he got away with a dirty urine test. I don’t think this could happen to a nicer guy. Maybe his first game back will be against the Bucs and we can see Karstens plunk him, then pick him off. Hands down, one of my top 10 all-time Pirate’s moments.

    If a Bucco showed up on that list, I’d be all for him being disciplined. Right or wrong, baseball has said “We will not tolerate performance enhancing drugs being used”. If MLB really wants to get serious about discouraging this form of cheating, I think they need to hand down lifetime bans to multiple time offenders.

  23. Maddamma says:

    Dejan, any Pirates on the list would only indicate that PED’s don’t work. However, if one of their names came up then good riddance. I’m sick of all cheating in sports.

  24. SJB says:

    I agree. Somehow people always tend to think their fans are the worst but generally it’s only the fans in cities that have experienced enough letdown to be apprehensive and desensitized in the first place. Sorry Dejan if Pens fans aren’t as positive and less knee jerk as the Isles fans or others who haven’t been fortunate enough recently or ever to know what it’s like to see their team crap all over themselves repeatedly in certain playoff situations.

    Also; with a higher degree of expectation comes a bigger letdown and disappointment when things don’t go as planned. Pittsburgh is fortunate enough to have teams when expectation are very high (not including the Pirates), so knocking fans attitudes when failure presents itself is not looking at thinks from a fans perspective at all.

    That said, I was actually surprised to hear how positive the crowd was through most all of game 1 and to start game 2. Even after the Sutter goal, the place was jumping for the short period until it was negated by another Bruins goal, so I don’t understand what more people want from the fans. The day the fans are expected and required to hold the players hands and coddle them through the game is the day I expect to get free tickets. It almost as annoying as having to pay $40 for a t-shirt to advertise and support a band you like. Shouldn’t it be the other way around…shouldn’t it come with the ticket? Being supportive is one thing, but don’t acted surprised when a bad game gets the place booing or crickets are heard.

  25. SJB says:

    Things…damn spellcheck. ;)

  26. Jandy says:

    +many

  27. Jandy says:

    I think you’re right, Dom. I think Fleury gets the start.

  28. Al says:

    Just want to say great article by Rob Rossi today on salvaging the series. I wish I had this mans hockey analytical ability.

  29. Jandy says:

    That’s a different perspective on things. Makes one thing…errr..think :)

  30. Jandy says:

    here we go
    :sigh:
    You’ll give Dejan a field day…

  31. Jandy says:

    it’s a must read for sure.

  32. Karen22 says:

    Absolutely true. And I pray that the Pens go out and MAKE “anything” happen!

  33. BillyBaduka says:

    I read the FF post yesterday. A good read. A good site. Those guys know a lot about hockey.

  34. drwaido says:

    Great picture of Boston. It is gorgeous.

  35. DJ says:

    To the Armchair Coaches Society and HCDB:

    1. Put the premium on speed and finishing ability and shake up this line-up. At a minimum, insert Bennett and Depres for Morrow and Engelland. We are outhitting the Bruins by wide margin but our hits are not always productive. They are taking hits to make plays. We won’t be able to pound them into submission through Game 7 if we cannot make it to Game 5.

    2. To carry through Point # 1, play smart against Chara. If the hit is there, absolutely take it, but more than anything take away his time and space. We are giving him incredible amounts of both. Force him to make the quick decision and challenge his puck-handling. He is like the Titanic with his slow and deliberate pace and we should be speedboats buzzing around him.

    3. Let’s get to the net. Except for an early fan by Kunitz between the circles in Game 1, cannot remember last chance we had from that area or closer. They are keeping everything to the outside. Sid’s fortuitous goal against Anderson from the wide angle is not happening this series so let’s do something about it.

    4. At all costs, get the first goal. Have a “defense out” mentality and be patient with our chances. Bruins will be a different team if they are forced to play from behind — totally different if we go up by two.

    5. Limit Letang’s time on the PP. Insert Martin.

    6. As Mario texted in 2009 Finals, play with confidence and without fear.

    We can win this series. Bruins will be incredibly tight at home for Game 4 faced with prospect of losing home ice and back to the ‘burgh if we win Game 3. Tonight’s the night so let’s go get it done!

  36. Karen22 says:

    Ditto time ten!!

  37. NMR says:

    Haha, well done Jandy.

  38. Karen22 says:

    Where IS the “Edit” button?! That’s “timeS.”

  39. NMR says:

    Agreed.

  40. NMR says:

    I bet Jason Grilli had a sleepless night.

  41. Karen22 says:

    No clue. Don’t care. If this insanely talented offensive team doesn’t score, it just won’t matter who’s in goal or how well he plays.

  42. Karen22 says:

    Uh oh!! LOL! EXACTLY the reason why to date I still have NO expectations and thus am not a passenger on this particular roller coaster. I’m so much calmer this season!

  43. Naje says:

    So Liriano is guaranteed anywhere between 9M and 13M for two years…and the problem with that is? I mean, that’s an average of 4.5M to 6.5M per year. Really, you’ve got a problem with that?

  44. Jandy says:

    :thwap:

    ;)

  45. Jandy says:

    +1

  46. Jandy says:

    Yeah, I want the edit and the like and the ignore buttons added!

  47. Jandy says:

    Yes they do. Billy, next time over, make a comment…any column…it’s appreciated :)

  48. Damon says:

    It was a great article – and I love his idea of a 3rd line consisting of Morrow-Jokinen-Iginla. Awesome idea. That could put Bennett on one of the top lines – either 9-87-19 and 14-71-18, or 14-87-9 and 19-71-18. Sutter and Cooke would be bumped to the 4th line, but that would really just be the alternate 3rd line with Cooke-Sutter-Adams. Wow….I’m liking that…

  49. Jandy says:

    excellent

  50. NMR says:

    Don’t worry, radio.

    If you take the square root of the run differential over the last five games you’ll clearly realize that this losing streak is unsustainable.

  51. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Zack Morris look-alike sighting in Boston! (At least there was if Dejan wore the same outfit above when he traveled to bean-town)

  52. NMR says:

    I find the wording very odd. “Truth”? Doesn’t that insinuate others have been lying?

    I read a little bit about baseball from time to time, and I have NEVER seen Liriano’s contract described as anything but $1m guaranteed with a whole bunch of other stuff attached. That’s truth.

    Kudos to Rosenthal for being the only guy who has actually done any work in finding out what the other “stuff” amounted to. But to backhand others at the same time? Please. So petty.

  53. Nate83 says:

    Their last two Junes have been really good. The “swoon” has come in August. I would hope that Tiger fans wouldn’t have immediately defaulted to their team falling of the rails after loseing 5 out of 7 against the Pirates and the team they played after the Pirates. All teams go through stretches like this.

    The games have been close and they are still playing hard. Baseball is a tough sport to win series after series. There are just to many variables.

  54. I don’t if he pitches anywhere close to the way he has so far for the Bucs.

    And, like DK said, doesn’t “hit any more doors” on Christmas or any other day.

  55. BillyBaduka says:

    Do you post there regularly? Are you DaB…?

  56. Damon says:

    Agreed with what you have posted. To expand on #5, Bylsma needs to start arranging the PP to be its best rather than feeding egos. If that means taking Letang, Geno, Kunitz or Neal off the top PP, they need to get over it. Not sure which arrangement of those players + Sid, Iginla and Martin would be the best, but the one they are running out there now looks like a bunch of monkeys…..I won’t go there.

  57. Nate83 says:

    I don’t think DK was saying that still wouldin’t be a bargain if Liriano keeps pitching as he has. He was only trying point out it is hardly the bargain that a 1M contract would have been. As much as I have accused him of being a buzzkill in this case I think he is simply stating fact.

  58. BillyBaduka says:

    Well done. Way to make the armchair coaches proud.

  59. Jandy says:

    ZING!

  60. CWalton_67 says:

    The season rests on the goalie decision by HCDB. If MAF starts and gives up a bad goal early, it is over.

    The same not necessarily true with Vokoun. He must play.

    They CAN win. Here’s hoping they can overcome the pressure.

  61. DJ says:

    Thank you for the compliment, to the de facto “gatekeeper'” of this blog.

  62. SeanAY says:

    Mark-Paul Gosselar is a huge fan of Founders Brewing Co. In, and every year they host a big outdoor downtown music party called Founders Fest. Gosselar joined the FBC All-Stars (a group of brewery workers playing covers…actually not too shabby) on guitar. He later proceeded to forcefully shave a man with a large beard that was duct taped to a dolly, Hannibal Lecter style.

    So when you say “Zack Morris sighting,” it conjures up different, unintended thoughts.

  63. Arriba Wilver says:

    $40 for a T-Shirt? Without an alligator on it?

  64. DJ says:

    Agreed. I would take Letang off the PP but just keeping it realistic.

    And although this is probably a post for another day, if I’m choosing between Malkin and Letang in the off season, I’m letting Letang go. Saw the Memorial Cup and Pouliot’s play. In my view, he was the best defenseman on the ice and that includes Seth Jones. Conceding that it is a different level of play, he was still quietly outstanding, a smooth and calm skater who understands time and space. It was particularly evident on entering the offensive zone, both on PP and otherwise, where he consistently and effortlessly walked the puck in . . . think Steve Sullivan-esque. Very excited by his prospects.

  65. Sarah says:

    It’s funny when they first got Iggy and I thought “geez, where will they put him??” the first option seemed to be 3rd line, since nobody wanted to break up Sid’s line, and, um, what rocket scientist would think Iggy belongs on left wing w Malkin??

  66. Sarah says:

    Well RR seems to think it’s MAF.

    I agree with you they CANNOT give up an early goal, or play from behind vs the Bruins, and FLeury’s propensity for whiffing on the first piece of rubber he sees is terrifying at this point.

    Let’s face it, if they put FLeury in, it is very much a Last Chance Kid kind of thing. WHich down 0-2, it probably is for the whole team anyway.

    I think RR is right that the Pens are trying to find out if they can keep him as a franchise G or not. You can argue that;s already been decided. I’d argue that they should have tried to find that out earlier under less pressure, but whatever. This is it.

    I think the only way they win this game is if
    1) They score first
    2) MAF plays lights out
    3) …and a bunch of other Hockey 101 stuff about not making idiotic turnovers evey couple of minutes, or trying to win the game all by yourself

  67. Jandy says:

    excellent!

  68. Jandy says:

    lol

    ::bows::

  69. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  70. stuart66 says:

    Hey Thanks JALette!

    Nice to have some links in JALs absence.

    Cautiously optimistic about game 3. Fleury looked really jittery in game 2. Hope he can get it together mentally.

    I’m wondering if we aren’t having a sea-change season in Baseball where the pitching is mainly dominating the hitters (people with bats in their hands).

    Stuart

  71. Al says:

    I’d like to pose a question to the group. Jandy posted a link above about how the Bruins might be employing a left wing lock or 2-3 trap to stymie the Pens (great link by the way). Has anyone ever developed a strategy or know of the best way to defeat this or other forms of the neutral zone trap?
    I’d love to have the answer to this.
    Thanks all.

  72. Arriba Wilver says:

    Based on their performance through June 4 against the top teams in the league? And after winning at the end of May 3 of 4 from one of the top teams in the AL? smh

  73. Damon says:

    I know….with those lines everyone fits. Morrow-Jokinen-Iginla plays to each players strength since none are very fast, but they have playmaking abilities. Sutter and Cooke play well together – Cooke now back to the LW, and Adams has shown to be a good forechecker and defensively responsible. Having Bennett up on the top two lines puts him where he needs to be….

    Just wonder if that will actually happen though.

  74. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    lol I was going strictly for the Saved By the Bell, cuffed jeans, loud shirt-wearing, sport-jacket-toting, Reebok pump-donning, 12 pound cellular device using version of Zack Morris.

    I don’t think Dejan’s shirts are normally as loud, though, and I’m sure his iPhone is quite a bit smaller. Can’t really say one way or the other on the Reebok pumps or the cuffed jeans.

    The guitar connection is kinda coincidental… I wonder if Zack is also into comics…

  75. Thundercrack says:

    I still can’t figure out how the math adds up to $9.12 million

  76. Jandy says:

    Anytime, Stuart :)

  77. Patrick(RI) says:

    Amazing photo of Boston, no doubt, but residential Boston is not always so pretty. I have reason to frequently traverse this town and I can tell you there are Bruins banners hanging from flag poles, porches and storefronts. Bostonian sports fans do bitch a lot, and the sports talk radio shows are most often disgusting. People up here, in New England, revel in their teams (sizable minority even favor the Evil Empire). Understand, they are spoiled, what with Patriot, Celtic and Bruin success rates in recent years. But that did not stop them from practically running a World Series Mgr out of town! My view sums up with the idea that Bostonians are “tough battlers” who expect athletes to contribute, or get out of the way. They are not easy on contributors, either — reflect on the playing history of Ted Williams and his relationship with fans. Bitching may be the real sport up here.

  78. Jandy says:

    Al, if you keep reading down that article about the lock, some of the posters offer strategy to beat it…one of them is to fight fire with fire….use it against them as well.

  79. Damon says:

    I agree with that choice. Geno’s shoulder is probably not 100% which is probably why he is reluctant to shoot right now, but he can take over games more so than Letang can. He scored 50 goals two seasons ago. Its not a debate that Malkin isn’t a top 3 or 5 talent, while Letang is only in the top 5 Dman let alone being tops overall. Biggest issue then would be how much will Geno cost vs. how much Letang will cost. The cap will only be tight next year too….after that it will go back up, so that is another variable.

  80. Jandy says:

    Feel free to post there as well, they love discussion too.

  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    That trend started a while ago. pretty much towards the so-called end of the Steroid Era. I remember reading predictions that it was going to happen.

  82. Boston Bruins are not better than Penguins.
    Boston Bruins are playing better as a team
    Boston Bruins are each focusing on their assignments.

    Pittsburgh Penguins have more talent.
    Pittsburgh Penguins, as they showed in the 15 game streak, can play defense.
    Pittsburgh Penguins need to work on being a team, not flashing individual talents.

    I believe in Dan Bylsma.
    I semi-believe in Penguin player leadership——which may be the problem on the ice.
    The players have to work in tandem, even as they did after Sid’s broken jaw, to make this team play work.
    Team play always beats individual efforts.

    My prediction was Pens down 2-1 after 3 games.
    It comes true tonight if they play as a team.
    Pens are the better team when they play as a team.
    If Pens play as individuals again tonight, it doesn’t matter if Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy in goal.

    Dan Bylsma goes all out to win tonight . . . . Marc Andre Fleury in goal!

  83. Thundercrack says:

    But he doesn’t name the person who is ‘floating’ the $1 million contract info.

  84. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1. The Pittsburgh of New England.

  85. Al says:

    duh….can’t believe stopped when I did and didn’t scroll down further.
    Getting old is hell…I don’t recommend it to anyone.
    Thanks!

  86. Damon says:

    Isn’t it sad you have to worry about the Hockey 101 stuff at this point?

  87. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m thinking it’s from one or more of 25-30 people. :-D

  88. Sarah says:

    Why I question the coaching staff.
    Basics, accountability.
    Not there.

  89. Jandy says:

    all good!

  90. Jandy says:

    Groat in da house!

  91. Nate83 says:

    Every system is beatable. Isn’t this the system New Jersey uses all the time. It just takes discipline, positioning and good quick puck movement. It’s not unlike a basketball full court press. It can make the other team look foolish at times and at the other times it leads to a bunch of easy baskets for the opposing team if the other team is doing the proper things to break that press. Simply said play your system better then they are playing their system.

    The penguins are playing way out of position on defense and offense. Boston has very active sticks and are causing rushed and careless mistakes leading to turnovers or good scoring chances turning into poor scoring chances because of hurried shots. How many shots on goal have completely missed the goal for the Penguins.

    All this should be taken very lighlty as I admittingly know very little about hockey strategy and I’m only going from what I’m seeing as I watch the games.

  92. Jandy says:

    excellent!!

  93. DJ says:

    I’m sure Letang will be looking for $7 mill. Considering Depres’ “development” (despite not played and trusted enough by HCDB), Pouliot and other D-men in the system, the choice is easy for me. Fans here will eventually rue the day if Malkin is ever traded. If we think Sid has been blanketed in this series, wait to see what happens should Malkin ever leave.

  94. Rob says:

    I think what I gathered from the article on the LWL is to slow down. Instead of forcing the puck by skating directly into the “trap”, or giving in and dumping to the 3 guys waiting for the dump, force the 2 up front “aggressive” forwards to skate away from their blue line towards yours in the neutral zone. A strategy which is the complete opposite of the Penguins “pressure” offense.

    This of course is also a dangerous strategy, moving or passing backward, but if the 5 guys employing it have a designed flow and zone it should cause a separation or spread their players and create gaps.

    When you think of this you can think of some of the set plays in basketball, and at a slower pace (like in slow motion compared to the speed of hockey), where you set up subtle “picks”.

    The problem again is this isn’t something DB seems likely to implement, but there is no reason they couldn’t try it. They do this in a “static” situation on almost all face-offs, the only difference on the “rush” is the players are already in motion. It’s a matter of timing and getting the “up front” checkers to move out of their tight LWL zone to create the gap(s) and requires patience.

    If done by design you could think of it as passive aggressive, since it is by design and your waiting for them to move, and your intended offensive penetration player to time his move to their blue line when the gap is created.

    My guess is you could devise a number of flows based on the movement of their 2 “aggressive” forwards. We certainly have the speed and skill to execute these moving set plays. Patience and discipline not so sure.

    Maybe someone else knows more, but that was my take on “attacking” the LWL :-)

  95. Nate83 says:

    I agree completely on the focusing on the assignment and that being the difference in the series. Each player has a part to play that makes up the whole machine. If you don’t stay within the assignment and within the system the whole thing falls apart because you are constantly scrambling to cover for others. The Penguins are not keeping to their assignments and Boston is doing it perfectly.

  96. JohninOshkosh says:

    Good post though I’d rather have a Kelly Kapowski sighting.

  97. Thundercrack says:

    How could he be sleepless. I thought he was tired

  98. Dom says:

    I’m surprised all the boos Jagr is still get him. A lot of people in this town can hold a grudge.

    I bet these same people would actually want the Pens to sign Jagr next year.

    That way Bylsma can irritate him by placing him on the left side.

  99. Nate83 says:

    Rob just said what I said but a lot better. See what happens when a knowledgable person adds to my ignorant comments. An actual cognizant thought comes together.

  100. Is that in iambic pentameter?

    Can we put a tune to it?

  101. JohninOshkosh says:

    I don’t have a lot of information, obviously, but at first blush it looks like MLB will have a tough time getting these suspensions through. Especially the 100 day suspensions against Braun and Rodríguez.

  102. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  103. Dom says:

    Why are Braun and Arod hated in PGH?

  104. NMR says:

    Yeah, I’m not celebrating yet either.

    First thought was Bountygate.

  105. Milo Hamilton says:

    StarCaps NFL. And that’s a much weaker union. And it was proven they took the stuff. None of those players missed a game. This is going to go on for years.

  106. Arriba Wilver says:

    Why, John? Because they didn’t fail a test to be caught?

  107. Rob says:

    Haha, good comment Nate, I just noticed you beat my post by 2 minutes, I’m in no way any more knowledgeable on hockey than you, I just write a little slower:-) Maybe been watching games a little longer, started listening to Mike Lange and the Pens at work in my teens many moons ago:-)

    I think I also remember some complaints about the use of trapping defenses a few years back, and honestly watching them played out is very boring and one of the reasons for the obstruction penalties. I think it was a Cryer (flyer) TB game that made the video highlights when the Cryers refused to skate the puck out of their zone.

  108. George says:

    Were a Bucco to appear on a PED list, I have to admit that in some perverse sort of way that I’d feel the Pirates had at least become competitive. What’s the purpose of taking a “Performance Enhancing Drug” if you can’t perform?

    On another note, let’s take a look at the history of the game. PEDs are as much a part of baseball as horse hide and pine tar. There are acknowledged users in the HOF. Not steroids or HGH, but PEDs of their era. It’s an admitted conundrum.

  109. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m a little curious with Arod’s situation if there is any language in his contract that would allow the Yankees to get out of the contract based on this in any event.

  110. I have no rhythm! That’s why I can’t dance . . . . or write poetry.

  111. JohninOshkosh says:

    Just off the top of my head:

    1. No failed test.
    2. If there is evidence that steroids were purchased, no proof through testing guidelines and chain of custody rules in CBA that roids were actually taken (we all know Braunnie is a stickler for due process and rule following).
    3. Those 2 above apply to all the names listed. With Braun and Rodriguez, they want to add an additional 50 days for lying to investigators. That is a tough slog anytime, see NMR’s Bountygate and Milo’s examples. See endless perpetual federal investigations since Watergate for further examples.
    4. MLBPA is strongest union in the world and has the best lawyers in labor law. These players will be lawyering up big time.

  112. I loved Orpik’s quote after game Monday night:

    “To win we have to quit playing like 20 guys trying to score goals.
    We must play like 20 men trying to stop the other team from scoring goals.”

    When Pens get back to playing that way——if Pens get back to playing that way——they are the best team in league.

  113. Dom says:

    Has any Pirate been caught taking PEDs?

  114. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks, John. I wasn’t doubting you, just curious on your reasoning.

  115. And, you are going to believe a convicted drug deal, who is goings “states evidence” to get a lesser sentence?!?!

    Gotta have a failed drug test. Union too strong to allow any other to convict.

  116. JohninOshkosh says:

    Groat, you are being too self deprecating !

    All your posts are poetic.

  117. cmat0829 says:

    Liriano’s contract should only be described as 2years – $12.75M, which was the original agreement prior to the amendment based on the injury. The amendment, which technically took the base contract for 2013 to $1M in salary, was really a ‘catastrophic insurance policy’, and a good move, that obviously won’t now be in play.

    In 2013, Liriano can make up to $4.75M total, and that is a bargain if he stays in the rotation, he need not keep up the current pace to make that a bargain. The 2014 option, if it vests at the full $8M, is still a good deal for the Bucs if Liriano is a reliable starter next year.

    I don’t really see any reason to make this an issue, agree with DK that any reference to 1M is silly, but also don’t think that countering that makes the deal any less of a positive for the Pirates.

  118. Jandy says:

    Nate83, dont’ sell yourself short…you made valid and good points.

    Rob, I was actually thinking about the Criers telling the Lightning to c’mon…cross the line….lol. that was hilarious.

  119. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks. I forgot about the witness problems MLB has.

  120. cmat0829 says:

    nope, yanks likely on the hook unless A-Fraud retires, which ain’t gonna happen. Their best hope is hip injury triggers insurance payout.

  121. Jandy says:

    you tell ‘im, Oshkosh!

  122. Jason81 says:

    I bet most of those people don’t even know why they are booing Jagr because they are the “new generation” of Pens fans. They’re just doing it because the guy 3 rows in front of them is.

  123. JohninOshkosh says:

    I know.

  124. Jandy says:

    I hold a grudge against Jagr. I didn’t…until the last prima donna episode. He basically played us for fools then. Sure, he has the right to choose where he wants to go, but he played everyone along. Screw that. I don’t want him back in black and gold.

  125. In the country high school I came from, I would have to fight you behind the gym after school for saying that about me!!

    Poetry for sissies and girls.

  126. Jandy says:

    “That way Bylsma can irritate him by placing him on the left side.”
    Good one, Dom!

  127. Jandy says:

    why not?

  128. I dance like Kevin James in Hitch.

    I could never be like David “dancing to the Lord!”

  129. Milo Hamilton says:

    You’re right, it isn’t an issue.

  130. Jandy says:

    not any more, Groat, it’s cool to be a nerd.

  131. Arriba Wilver says:

    The vesting at $8 mil is already off the table because Liriano was on the DL because of the arm injury until May 11.

  132. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  133. Jandy says:

    haha everyone is on a roll today ;)

  134. Jeff Karstens. You can tell by looking at him and by his physical abililty to stay on the field.

    :D

  135. 10-14 days ago Clemson Travis on the Pirate Blog was making a big deal of how smart Neil Huntington was for signing this “bargain rotation” of Pirates, including getting Liriano for “only $1 million.” Travis did not account in his article the bonus money due Liriano until called on it by his readers.

    Dejan must be referring to that and subsequent comments elsewhere that grew out of that.

  136. That comes on you spiritually. It’s not an “America’s Got Talent” thing.

    I can’t sing either, but the Bible says “make a joyful noise (shout) to the Lord” so if it’s joyful to Him, that’s all that matters.

    :-o < Jandy singing emoticon

  137. Rob says:

    It was Jandy:-) I remember at the time thinking why doesn’t the NHL implement rules like the NBA against zone defenses, more thinking on it and how difficult it would be to enforce considering how difficult it is for 2 refs to call the current penalties, and not sure it would work out too well. Also the traps were the great equalizers before the salary cap so less talented teams could at least be competitive, but now I really beginning to date myself (only 54/but sometimes more) :-)

  138. NMR says:

    It just took you two paragraphs to explain Liriano’s contract, yet its silly to say it’s $1m guaranteed with incentives?

    As if every writer who references Liriano’s contract must go through every point? Which one is silly again?

    That’s what makes this whole issue soooo petty to me.

  139. Milo Hamilton says:

    Anyone bragging about the Pirates rotation in late May obviously just started following them this year. :)

  140. Jandy says:

    You aren’t too far ahead of me, so I guess I’m “dated” material as well ;)

  141. Jandy says:

    Now THAT’S scary!

  142. Roses are red,
    violets are blue.

    JandyGirl is sweet,
    and Kentuck Knob too.

    Now for Oshkosh b’gosh:
    I once knew a girl from . . . .

  143. Arriba Wilver says:

    My dancing would not be joyful to Him.

  144. Milo Hamilton says:

    Add that to the ever growing list.

  145. Jandy says:

    +1000000000000000

  146. Jandy says:

    is it sustainable, tho???

  147. NMR says:

    “*While it’s just three starts, Francisco Liriano has looked a lot like the guy he was in 2006 and 2010, posting a 1.00 ERA, 3-0 record, and a 25-to-6 K-to-BB ration over 18 innings … all for $1 million.

    (He can reach nearly $4 million more in incentives, but still it’s looking like quite a bargain).”

    This blog, Groat?

    And shame on Dejan if you’re right.

  148. Hallelujah!! Amen!!

    . . . (my arms are waving and my feet de be stompin’!!)

  149. Arriba Wilver says:

    Couldn’t DK have texted Travis? :-)

  150. Milo Hamilton says:

    Cherry picking ? (Shakes head).

  151. Thundercrack says:

    I wonder if Tom Singer may have written about the contract.

    He seemed to be in the cross hairs for a while.

  152. Jason81 says:

    His “dying alive” quote is the one that always stuck with me, considering how the organization had done everything they possibly could to keep him happy. He was playing on a team in 2001 that once again had a chance to go to the Finals (if they could have avoided that damn Devils trap!) and he delivered that gem. Never mind the fact that he had Mario on the team again and a coach (Hlinka) essentially hand picked to keep him happy. Was his trade inevitable with the team bleeding money still? Yes, but going out “dying alive” did it for me.

    The whole #jagrwatch last year didn’t bother me as much, if he had come back it would have made for an interesting dynamic, yes. But I don’t think he would have put that team over the top for a deep playoff run either. All you have to do is look at how “average” he has been for PHI, DAL, and BOS since the series against the Pens last year. Still helpful on the power play, nowhere near the even strength force he once was.

  153. Jandy says:

    I like cherries, how much are they a pound?

  154. Milo Hamilton says:

    I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the term “cherry picking” I think of Wayne Gretzky.

  155. Thundercrack says:

    I heard NH briefly explain Liriano’s contract. He said that Liriano could make all the money that was in his original deal.

  156. National Mart of Records,

    As you are aware, Clemson Travis went on to build his argument around this:

    “*A.J. Burnett leads the NL in strikeouts with the Yankees picking up $8.5 million of his $16.5 million salary.

    *Wandy Rodriguez has been a stabilizing presence with the Astros paying $5 million of his $13.5 million salary.

    *Jeff Locke earns a mere pittance $497,000 and does Jeanmar Gomez $500,000.

    The current starting five is earning $18.5 million .”

    I won’t quote rest of article——all can go back and read it May 23——but his usage of only $1 million in the argument of the article was inaccurate and naive. Sounds like Bill Brink of the other newspaper printing Club missives.

  157. Nate83 says:

    Well doesn’t it make sense to maybe skate through the sticks to draw a penalty instead of trying to pass the puck through the sticks. It seems like when Malkin has gotten a head of steam going he has gotten some good scoring chances. Maybe if we make them move their feet instead of using their sticks we can draw some of those obstruction penalties.

    I know this is easier said then done because Boston has been extremely disciplined.

  158. NMR says:

    Groat, he explained it in the very next sentence. All you have to do is read.

  159. NMR says:

    How did it take a national writer to find out the actual details of the contract?

    Embarassing for the local guys, if you ask me.

  160. Jandy says:

    hahaha Milo, priceless!

  161. Drew71 says:

    Which among the following Pittsburgh professional sports team wins next?

    1. Pens
    2. Pirates
    3. Steelers
    4. Condors

  162. Sarah says:

    Guys I may be slow at reading comprehension….

    But is DK putting a bit of an onus on the Consol crowd?
    Not exactly blaming them, but sympathizing with the players “who would want to play there…” and so on.

    Or am I reading that too harshly?

    I think if the Consol crowd is quick to tighten up and fear the worst, it’s for pretty good reason.
    The Pens have turned in some of the worst playoff performances in franchise history in the last 4 years, many at Consol. I know, I was there for the 8-2 shellacking in Game 5 vs TB. This was after a shoddy Game 7 v Habs the year before (though I think that was Mellon Arena).
    Then came the Philly debacle.
    Then we had Monday night.

    As the ole Two Niner said after that embarrassment, the booing was well deserved, and the Penguins badly let down their fans who’ve been incredibly supportive through thick and thin and are now at 200-something sellouts.

    If the CEC is seriously gun shy – there’s seriously good reason.

    But let me know if I am interpreting DK too harshly.

  163. Naterosboro says:

    I think we all have a bit of petty in us…

    but I’m not an American girl, I’m free-falling.

    So let me get to the point, as I roll another joint.

    Simply…

    You don’t know how it feels

    to be Deeee

    K.

  164. Sarah says:

    In my experience Speed Kills All.
    Doesn’t mean you have to pinch or give up position.

    But it makes winning the loose pucks much easier if you get there first.

  165. Milo Hamilton says:

    Have you ever noticed when you’re out at an establishment & they have a guy singing & playing a guitar as live entertainment. You can’t go 10 minutes without him singing a Petty song.

  166. JohninOshkosh says:

    The only fanbase safe on this blog are the Riverhounds’

  167. JohninOshkosh says:

    It’s not 4:20 yet.

  168. Milo Hamilton says:

    I heard Bourque on the radio this morning & he said he was approached by a couple of players to get the word out that they are going to need the fans help when (if) they get back for Game 5. Sounds like this is something on the players minds. Maybe they should have other things on their minds.

    Can’t agree with you more Sarah. The only saving grace in a sweep is that those poor people wouldn’t have to fork out good money to watch that dreck (meaning Game 2 of course).

  169. Naterosboro says:

    And it’s usually “Free Falling”, especially if it’s an acoustic set.

  170. Dom says:

    Buccos!

  171. Milo Hamilton says:

    I heard that & American Girl by two different guys in a 30 minute span on Saturday before the Pirate game. It’s OK. I like Tom Petty.

  172. Milo Hamilton says:

    And to be clear, I didn’t take what DK wrote as a shot at the fans (maybe it was, I could be wrong). I interpreted it as a statement on the overall aura of the place, which in the post season ain’t been good.

  173. Naterosboro says:

    To quote the great Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett:

    “It’s 4:20 somewhere”

  174. Jandy says:

    I personally wouldn’t boo the guys, but I can understand why a lot of fans WOULD do it after the last two early exits. That game Monday was like rubbing salt in a would. Who would be quiet for that?

  175. Jandy says:

    darn typos…wound…salt in a wound.

  176. Joni says:

    Sarah, I interpreted DK’s words in the same way that you did.

    My problem is that I read a lot but don’t retain it:)
    I think one of the other Trib writers, perhaps DK himself, mentioned in a previous article or blog post that the lack of spark (my words) from the fans certainly isn’t helping the players on the ice. And that the fans need to generate some positive feeling in Consol, especially during the bad times.

    I find that it takes a bit of courage to be the one (or small majority) in your section to continue to cheer for a train wreck of a game. The people around you may not wish to hear your vocal positivity and may be more than happy to take out their frustration with what is happening on the ice with you and your vocal positivity.

    That is a shame. Sporting events are one of few places where shouting loudly and clapping, often at random moments, is socially acceptable! anything goes in your home, so that’s not as much fun…

    Let’s go Pens!

  177. Thundercrack says:

    I actually don’t see what the bid deal of his contract is anyway.

  178. CeehowUR says:

    The ice should be solvable. Now we just need to show Winnipeg Jets home highlights as a training video for fans.

  179. Iceman says:

    Vokoun stated that he would be starting in goal again tonight. I have no problem with this at all.

  180. Sisyphus says:

    I heard a guy running through the chords to “Free Falling” on a cheap acoustic in a South Side parking lot on Sunday afternoon. It’s inescapable.

  181. theplanisworking says:

    If baseball REALLY wanted to stop this, they would have done something starting with the A’s in the late 80’s, and McGwire-Sosa in the late 90’s.

    This is a case of too little, too late.

  182. Rob says:

    Here’s an advaned lesson on FAN 101 and it grades a AAA+++ CEC:

  183. Sarah says:

    Wow. Suprised to hear that.
    MAF is done in this town if RS can get anything reasonable for him then.

    Another real shame.

  184. Sarah says:

    I think with the O talent on this team, the state of the ice is inexcusable. Contributing factor on the first goal Monday.

    CEC needs to shut up and hire the Edmonton guys. If you’re going to pay 10s of millions for Crosby et al, he shouldnt be playing in a slushy cow pasture.

    A real blemish on the CEC IMO.

  185. Sarah says:

    Thanks Milo.

    I dunno, I guess my frustration with DB’s stubborness is over-flowing now.

    As per DK and others, I don’t see why Iggy is not on the PP, why Letang is, why Iggy is on LW, why Bennet/Depres are not playing, and on and on and on.

    I’m impatient with looking in ANY other direction than coaching now.

    I’m impatient with players needing fans’ help (the players should NOT be asking their fans for one G-damn thing, except possibly.forgiveness, and another chance. Really, what babies.)
    I’m impatient with saying it’s cos the Stars aren’t producing (Which is true but IMO a symptom).
    Or the goaltending. Jeebus, if there;s a problem at the BOTTOM of the list right now, it’s that……

    This team is poorly disciplined, has seemingly no accountability, is easily frustrated (and much of that frustration stems from schemes/patterns that aren’t working)….and arguably being out-coached. Again.

    They have all the earmarks of an immature group not being handled well, not believing that their scheme can win, and trying shortcuts like 80 foot passes to Orpik or trying to stickhandle around the whole Bruins D all by themselves. That goes to lack of belief that the Precious Our Game is working. This is a team in serious dissarray.

    I have played enough years that I know what my guys (or my opponents) look like, when the things they normally have been used to working, suddenly don’t work, thanks to smart opposition countering them. Frustration and stupidity and idiot penalties are sure to ensue.

    That’s when there needs to be an adjustment, and the minute it starts working a little bit, and the guys buy in, whole different ballgame. Look to the Pens’ Mutiny vs Bowman at 1-3 down v Caps in 1992 for an example. Different ballgame. 11 straight after that maybe?

    Haven’t seen such Adjustment yet. Bruins slowed things down mid-late 2nd period in Game 1, and since then, it’s been all frustration and disarray.

    And when I read that the life went out of the Pens after that early goal Monday, I just want to scream.

    If you get deflated when you’re down 1 goal and there’s 59:30 still to play, well sh-t I don’t know what to say.

    Anyway.

    Thanks for the vent all!!!

    Time for my meds…..

  186. Rob says:

    sorry, not sure why a link turned into the You Tube video frame, and whether it is just on my page, or how to change it to just a link..oops

  187. Sarah says:

    I hear ya Joni!

    Y know I think we paid nearly 400.00 for those 2 tickets in the TB series which was a lovely price to pay for watching the Pens skate hard for about 15 minutes and then, at the first sign of adversity (where have we heard THAT theme before?) take the rest of the night off and lose 8-2, in a game where they could have closed out the series in front of a delirious Consol Center.

    Me and my nephew clapped and yelled encouragement the whole time, but Jeebus God, how much support are we supposed to give when the team basically bagged it at the end of the 1st period?

    You start to feel like an idiot. The effort was simply not there. I paid 400.00 bucks for this? What am I, a moron? I got taken.

    I have NO problems with the fans being POd and even booing.

    And if, as DK says, it’s getting tough to play at CEC, well I say to the Pens, Back Atcha Baby. You reap what you sow.

    As I recall, Phil Bourque totally laid into them after that one too. I remember sitting in the car in the parking lot listening to him on the radio. He was livid. He talked about a point of pride in the 91-92 Cup Teams, that they NEVER lost when they had an opportunity to close out a series at Home. NEVER.

    I think Pens are now 1-7 under DB in that regard. To quote the 29er, “embarrassing”.

    Whew.
    Feeling better now, thanks Joni!

    Meds kicking in.

  188. Mike A. says:

    Bravo, Milo!! Either come home 2-2 or get swept. A 3-1 deficit coming home is nothing more than stealing my money…Same thing happened last year against Philly. And, if I wanted to sell the tickets…who in their right mind would by tickets for an 8:10pm start on a Sunday night when they have almost no hope of coming back in the series? Ugh!!

  189. Mike A. says:

    Why is that a shame? He has been given ample opportunity to produce in key situations, and failed miserably. This is a business, and if Ray Shero can get somebody who can do this business better, I’m ready to wash my hands of MAF.

  190. Sarah says:

    Oh it’s a shame because he’s a great guy that works hard, and IMO was never handled properly by this franchise.

    They threw him out there as a teenager to sell tickets. Behind an awful team that made boatloads of mistakes which only exacerbates bad habits (over-comitting, et al).

    Next couple years they cheap-skated and demoted him to WBS to save salary money at every opp, where MT embarrased him in the press and pulled him after every mistake, to go to that Vezina candidate Andy Chiodo. None of that helps a youngster already struggling with his mental game.

    He still developed OK and under a very tight defensive system became a Cup winner.

    The tight defensive awareness evaporated under Bylsma and it’s clear that the way this team underperforms in the playoffs, he is not the goalie they need, he is way too mentally brittle now with too much history.

    I wish him well and hope he gets a fresh start somewhere and plays up to his ability.

    But I do NOT agree that he was handled well here. Even in this playoffs, not taking the opps to ease him back with less pressure (Game 1 or 4 of Ott) only to toss him out in a must-win after a month on the bench when he has no history of being a backup and having to deal with that. All bad.

    I think RS will have a tough time finding someone to play as many games as well in reg season as MAF.

  191. CWalton_67 says:

    I think MAF has already been proven not to be the franchise goalie, but respect your points, Sarah. Well said.

  192. CWalton_67 says:

    Vokoun in net. Go Pens.

  193. BillyBaduka says:

    Lol

    I’ve wondered.

    They kicked me off many years ago. After the Hossa trade. I don’t even remember my monicker. Of course I could use new one.

    I think it was Matt B (not Matt P) that didn’t like the vitriol I expressed over Hossa choosing Detroit. Of course, that did end up working out pretty well for the Pens.

    I don’t think Mike wrote for them then. Cause that guy brings vitriol in spades. His game grades for game 2 were hysterical. Great venting material.

 
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