September 30, 2008

Jim Cohen Will Also Soon Be "Irrelevant"

The economy is hitting hockey writer's just like everyone else. William Houston of the Globe and Mail has an interesting blurb in his latest article that won't make hockey fans too happy.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's long-time hockey writer, Tim Panaccio, accepted a buyout after he was taken off the Flyers beat and assigned to cover the Philadelphia Eagles. Panaccio says he was told by the newspaper's sports editor, Jim Cohen, that hockey was “an irrelevant sport” and that in Philadelphia, the Eagles “far outweighed anything else.”

Eric McErlain also gives his take over at Fanhouse.

What's funny is that the newspaper business is quickly dying and become irrelevant in keeping up with the news. By the time you receive your morning newspaper, it's already outdated. The Internet and blogs are filling in the gaps and giving people news as it happens, whenever they want. I also think it's kind of odd to be calling hockey "irrelevant" in a city like Philadelphia, which has a rich hockey tradition

I cannot wait for Jim Cohen's sports blog on Blogger or Wordpress coming to a dot com near you once the Philadelphia Inquirer cuts his job because, in the world, the Internet already "outweighs" newspapers.

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Self Pimping...

Chris Wassel and crew over at The NHL Arena are continuing their Battle of the Blogosphere and this week, Going Five Hole is taking on Die by the Blade, a blog for all-things Buffalo Sabres.

Head on over to the NHL Arena forums to register, vote, as well as participate in the on-going hockey discussions over there. Right now I hold a 4-2 lead.

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GFH '08-09 Season Preview Day 2: Rookies to Watch

We all know about the Stamkos', Bogosian's, Doughty's, and Turris' of the hockey world that might be making a Calder Trophy-worthy impact for their respective NHL teams this season, but what about the rest of the crop? There's plenty of new players around the league that you could be hearing about as the season goes on.


Shawn Matthias, Florida, F
The Panthers stole the young kid out of Belleville in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi. (How did Ken Holland get ripped off like that?) He's got the size at 6'4, 204lbs to be a quality power-forward. With Ollie Jokinen in Phoenix, Matthias will get his chance at center if he makes the big club. Should Jacques Martin decide to start him in San Antonio, expect him to work his way back to the Panthers quickly.


Janne Pesonen, Pittsburgh, F
The unknown signing by the Penguins over the summer will likely find himself on the wing on the fourth-line to begin the season. He won the Finnish league scoring title a year ago, so he has the ability to put the puck in the net, it's just that the Pens lineup is pretty crowded. He'll need to stand out and put up points quickly if he wants to move up on Michel Therrien's depth chart.


Teddy Purcell, Los Angeles, F
Dean Lombardi is looking to his youth for some future success with the Kings. Purcell is part of that group who has the potential to bring some scoring to Staples Center. He was the AHL Rookie of the Year and made the all-star team, which he tallied a hat-trick. He's got the hands and speed to be a successful top six forward, but he'll need to transfer his AHL scoring talents to the NHL.


Derick Brassard, Columbus, F
A high-valued playmaker, Brassard put up killer numbers in the high-scoring QMJHL with Drummondville. With Ken Hitchcock giving him a look as a first-line center next to Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius, Brassard could speed up his development playing next to those two.


TJ Oshie, St. Louis, F
Blues fans expect big things from the former North Dakota Fighting Sioux star. He plays a physical game using his 6'4 frame and with low expectations in St. Louis, he could find himself a part of the Calder Trophy race. There's not many scouts who don't believe Oshie won't be a top player in the NHL. Despite a probable high draft pick ahead of them, a productive rookie campaign from Oshie could bring some hope back to the Blues.


Kevin Porter, Phoenix, F
A quality two-way player, Porter took home the Hobey Baker award as the NCAA's top player last season. He'll be challenging for a spot in the 'Yotes lineup and with the youth movement abound in the desert, Porter could make an impact if given enough ice time.


Jonathan Ericsson, Detroit, D
A blue-liner with a huge slap shot, Ericsson was with the Red Wings as a black ace last season and saw the Stanley Cup run from the press box. He was the final selection in the 2002 draft and it seems as if Ken Holland and his scouting staff have found another gem. A converted forward, the 24-year old will start the season in the AHL with Grand Rapids, but it's entirely possible we see him on the top six depth chart for the Red Wings defense.

Others to keep an eye on:

Patrick Berglund, F, St. Louis
Kyle Okposo, F, NY Islanders
Erik Ersberg, G, Los Angeles
Jakub Voracek, F, Columbus
Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia
Nikita Filatov, F, Columbus
Fabian Brunnstrom, F, Dallas
Bobby Ryan, F, Anaheim,
Alex Goligoski, D, Pittsburgh

Critical NHL Dates
9 Games to Stay Home and Watch

Mario Lemieux Foundation total donation: $220

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September 29, 2008

NHL in Europe Programming Notes

If you're wondering what kind of hockey you'll be able to watch over the next few days from the games being played in Europe, here's the schedule:

Tuesday, 9/30
NY Rangers v SC Bern (SUI) 12pm ET
NHL Network / MSG Network

Wednesday, 10/1
NY Rangers v. Mettalurg Magnitogorsk (RUS) 1:30pm ET
NHL Network / MSG Network

Saturday, 10/4
NY Rangers v. Tampa Bay 12pm ET
NHL Network / MSG Network

Pittsburgh v. Ottawa 2:30pm ET
NHL Network / FOX Sports Pittsburgh

Sunday, 10/5
NY Rangers v. Tampa Bay 12pm ET
Versus / NHL Network / MSG Network

Pittsburgh v. Ottawa 2:30pm ET
Versus / NHL Network / FOX Sports Pittsburgh

-Pens fans might be asking why their exhibition game on Thursday against Jokerit (FIN) won't be televised but the Rangers games are. Basically, NHL Network doesn't have their own broadcast team they take the local television feeds. The MSG Network has been showing every Rangers pre-season game and is heading to Prague, so those watching the games tomorrow and for Wednesday's "Victoria Cup" will get the MSG feed.

Anyone know if Sam Rosen will be taking a week off of FOX football coverage and making the trip? Or will MSG use Kenny Albert or John Giannone for play-by-play?

-Yes, you've read correctly, the opening two games on Saturday will not be televised nationally here in the US on Versus. The channel's college football contract is the reason why you'll have to wait until Sunday to see live regular-season NHL hockey if you're not in New York, Pittsburgh, or have NHL Network.

Don't forget this was the same situation a year ago when the Kings and Ducks opened things up in London; local television on Saturday and a national broadcast on Versus for Sunday coverage.

All the more reason to get Direct TV.

Mario Lemieux Foundation total donation: $215

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GFH '08-09 Season Preview Day 1: 9 Games to Stay Home and Watch

You might remember this list from my Puck Daddy post back in July...well, here's the same, minus one game, of course.

Atlanta Thrashers at Florida Panthers (Oct. 11, 2008)

You might be saying, "What the hell could this game be good for?" Well, it's not so much as anything between the two teams, but the return of a player. Richard Zednik will return after the horrendous skate-to-throat injury he suffered last February. You can be sure there will be a long ovation when he hits the ice.

Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins (Oct. 16, 2008)

You can't have a "Games to Watch" list without Alex versus Sid. Another interesting storyline is the entire "Ovechkin taking runs at Malkin" thing that we saw a few times last season. This rivalry is only going to get better now that the Capitals have improved themselves and have a stud defenseman in Karl Alzner ready to hit somebody. The teams meet again on Jan. 14, Feb. 22 and March 8, all in 2009.

Dallas Stars at New York Rangers (Oct. 20, 2008)

Sean Avery plays against his former mates and you can be sure he won't mind stirring some crap up. Ex-teammates be damned, Avery is going to be drawing penalties, turtling, and yapping his gob the entire game. I guess we'll see how some of his former teammates felt about him now that he'll be wearing an opposing jersey.

Dallas Stars at New Jersey Devils (Oct. 22, 2008)

Meanwhile in Jersey, Martin Brodeur and Sean Avery rekindle their feud. Over/Under on the amount of ice showers Brodeur gets by Avery is now up to four. Luckily for the Devils and Marty, these two teams will only play once, so "Fatso" can rest in his crease in piece.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals (Nov. 10, 2008)

Olaf Kolzig comes back to the city that he spent the last 19 years in.It'll be an emotional night as one of D.C.'s most popular athletes returns home and, despite being nudged out the door last season, Olie the Goalie will want to prove he still has something left in the tank.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins (Dec. 23, 2008)

The Lightning, also known as Pittsburgh-South, comes back to the Steel City and fans will have their chance to welcome Adam Hall, Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone, as well as Michel Ouellet and Mark Recchi home. Will Pittsburghers boo their hometown boy Malone? Or will he be given a hero's welcome with his gutsy Game 5 performance still fresh in memory? There are so many interesting match-ups for Tampa Bay next season, it could have its own list: What about Jan. 12, 2009, when the Mullet returns to Hollywood to face the Los Angeles Kings? Or for that matter, on April 3 when he goes to Newark for the first time as a coach after trashing the city on ESPN?

Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks (The Winter Classic), Jan. 1, 2009

The third incarnation of the outdoor game is upon us and let's all hope this new portable rink will diminish any ice problems like we saw in Buffalo this past New Year's Day. It should be fun to see the brown ivy in the middle of winter and "The Windy City" faithful come out in full support of their revived Blackhawks, who'll no doubt be wearing vintage jerseys.

Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins (Feb 8, 2008)

Marian Hossa faces his former teammates after he basically said they did not have a good chance to win the Stanley Cup. He passed on playing with Sidney Crosby for the next 5-7 years and took less money to head to Hockeytown. This one might have some bitterness. Oh, and these two teams played in the Cup final or something, too.

San Jose Sharks at Boston Bruins (Feb. 10, 2009)

The prodigal son returns for a second time as an opponent. Joe Thornton was never shown the love during his time in Boston as he was not considered a big game player, especially in the playoffs. He moved to San Jose in 2005 and has continued that trend. Will the boo birds be out when Thornton comes back? You can bet on it.

Previously: Critical NHL Dates

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Monday Afternoon Required Reading

Don't expect to hear a true diagnosis on your favorite injured player this season. (James Mirtle)

RIP Reg Dunlop. (Puck Daddy)

Can the Bruins find a partner to take Manny Fernandez? (Boston Blueline)

Chris Bourque is trying to stay on with the Caps. (Capitals Kremlin)

Cablevision buys the Islanders television rights, but doesn't like showing their games. (Islanders Point Blank)

An interview with the author of "Saving Face: The Art and History of the Goalie Mask", an awesome pictorial book that you should check out. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Joe also has some tips on how to win your hockey pool.

Barry Melrose. Still adjusting to the "new" NHL. (nhLOL)

ThePensBlog has another photoshop challenge (ThePensBlog)

Who's the best goaltender since 1980? (One Timer)

Check out the start of the Asia League. (Phil Buchan)

Erik Johnson isn't happy about the rumors regarding his injury. (St. Louis Today)

The list of games to be featured on the Canadiens' greatest games DVD. (Eyes on the Prize)

Much like myself, Ryan Dixon is high on Dallas this season. (The Hockey News)

Have you checked out the new (NHL)

Troubles in Toronto. (Scotty Wazz)

Hurricane fans are missing their old beat writer, Luke DeCock. (The Sliding Pokecheck)

Pre-season hockey for free? Count me in. (On Frozen Blog)

The continuing celebration of the Canadiens. (Globe & Mail)

Mike Brophy campaigns for Steve Yzerman as the next Maple Leafs GM. (Sportsnet)

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Fantasy Hockey Pre-Draft Rankings: Top 10 Goalies

It is time for the final installment in my pre-draft rankings. Today we will be running down the top 10 fantasy netminders heading into the regular season. And away we go!
  1. Martin Brodeur (44-27-6, 2.17 GAA, .920 SV%, 4 SO) Simply put, Brodeur is the best in the business. The Devils looked poised for a fall, but Marty still has to be the first goalie off the board. Having said that, there was no way I was going to draft him this season. I think there is better value further down the list.
  2. Henrik Lundqvist (37-24-10, 2.23 GAA, .912 SV%, 10 SO) King Henrik is the first guy on this list I really wanted to draft (but was unable both times). There is talk of a knee problem that has lingered from last spring, but for my money he is still the best goalie to have heading into this season.
  3. Evgeni Nabokov (46-21-8, 2.14 GAA, .910 SV%, 6 SO) All you need to know about Nabokov is that he is going to play around 70 games for a team that is sound defensively and should be one of the top teams in the West. That's enough to secure the third slot on this list.
  4. Marc-Andre Fleury (19-10-2, 2.33 GAA, .921 SV%, 4 SO) I wanted to put MAF third on this list, but there are still question marks about his consistency and the Penguins are missing arguably their two best defensemen for an extended period of time. The Flower could still prove to be a top two fantasy netminder this year. If he's still there in the third round (he likely won't be though) draft him.
  5. Roberto Luongo (35-29-9, 2.38 GAA, .917 SV%, 6 SO) I think the Canucks are going to struggle this season, but Luongo is too good to put any lower on this list. Put him on a better team and it's Vezina city for Bobby Lou.
  6. J.S. Giguere (35-17-6, 2.12 GAA, .922 SV%, 4 SO) I think the Ducks are going to look a lot more like the team that won the Cup two seasons ago that last season's version. That is good news for a guy who quietly put up career-best numbers last season. He should not last past the fourth round in any draft.
  7. Marty Turco (32-21-6, 2.31 GAA, .909 SV%, 3 SO) The Stars are my team to come out of the West this season and I do think they will win a very competitive Pacific Division. That will equate to great numbers for the oft underrated Turco. Do not hesitate to pick up Turco if you get the chance.
  8. Chris Osgood (27-9-4, 2.09 GAA, .914 SV%, 4 SO) I do not think highly of Osgood and never have, but he is still the clear cut number one goalie for the consensus best team in the NHL. That means, as much as I would like to, I can't drop him any lower on this list. And for the record, I did take Osgood in one of my drafts.
  9. Carey Price (24-12-3, 2.56 GAA, .920 SV%, 3 SO) All the people who get paid to know their stuff think Montreal is going to walk all over the Eastern Conference this season. I do not necessarily agree with them, but they will still be a good team and Price should put up good numbers. You could do a lot worse than Price for your number two goalie, but I do not think I would feel comfortable with him as my number one.
  10. Pascal Leclaire (24-17-6, 2.25 GAA, .919 SV%, 9 SO) Like Luongo, Leclaire's team is not much to write home about, but Pascal is too good to keep off of this list. He will stuggle a bit in the win column (and there are minor health concerns), but all the other numbers will more than make up for it. I drafted Leclaire in my roto league last night and I could not be happier to have him on my team again this season.
Well, that is it for my pre-draft coverage. The next post you read from me will almost assuredly discuss actual games in some capacity. If that is not enough to get you up for fantasy season (and the "real" season too I guess) then you have come to the wrong place.

Chris Yarbrough is the GFH Fantasy Guru for the 2008-09 season. You can read more from Chris on his own blogs, Taking One for the Team and The Flower Shop.

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GFH '08-09 Season Preview Day 1: Critical NHL Dates

1 Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Month

4-5 NHL Premiere – Stockholm 2008 (Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins)
4-5 NHL Premiere – Prague 2008 (New York Rangers, vs. Tampa Bay Lightning)

2008-09 NHL Regular Season begins (North American games)

Lester Patrick Award luncheon (St. Paul, MN)

8 Hockey Hall of Fame Game (Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs)

Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (Toronto, ON)
Inductees: Glenn Anderson, Igor Larionov (Player category), Ed Chynoweth
(Builder category), Ray Scapinello (Referee/Linesman category)

1 Signing deadline for Group 2 free agents

Holiday Roster Freeze in effect. For all players on an NHL active roster, injured reserve, or players with non-roster and injured non-roster status as of midnight, local time, December 19, a roster freeze shall apply through midnight local time December 27, with respect to
waivers, trades and loans, subject to the exceptions provided for in CBA Article 16.10.

No scheduled practices - dressing rooms closed

26 – Jan.5
IIHF World U20 Championship (Ottawa, ON)

1 NHL Winter Classic 2009, Wrigley Field, Chicago (Detroit Red Wings at Chicago

Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game (TBA)

NHL on NBC (game of the week coverage begins)

All-Star break (no games played)

NHL SuperSkills Competition (Bell Centre, Montreal, QC)

57th NHL All-Star Game (Bell Centre)

13-15 Hockey Weekend Across America (USA Hockey)

CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada (hosted from Campbellton, NB)

3 Trade deadline (3 p.m. ET)

9-11 NCAA Frozen Four (Verizon Center, Washington, DC)

IIHF U18 World Championship (Fargo, ND & Moorhead, MN)

Last day of 2008-09 regular season

Stanley Cup Playoffs begin

24 – May 10
IIHF World Championship (Berne & Zurich-Kloten, Switzerland)

25 – 30 NHL Combine (Toronto, ON)

15 Last possible day for 2009 Stanley Cup Final

Deadline for first club-elected salary arbitration (later of June 15 or 48 hours after
the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final, 5:00 p.m. ET)

NHL Awards show

NHL Entry Draft Media Day - Top Prospects Media Lunch & Clinic (Montreal, QC)

NHL Entry Draft (Bell Centre, Montreal, QC) – first round

NHL Entry Draft (Bell Centre) – rounds 2-7

1 Free Agency period begins

Deadline for player-elected salary arbitration (5:00 p.m. ET)

Deadline for club-elected salary arbitration (5:00 p.m. ET)

Deadline for eligible players to elect Group 5 free agency (5:00 p.m. ET)

20 – Aug. 4
Salary arbitration hearings held

6 Deadline for salary arbitration decisions to be rendered

Mario Lemieux Foundation total donation: $200

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September 28, 2008

Eric Lindros' Video Message at Spectrum Captains Ceremony

The Spectrum saw it's final National Hockey League hockey game ever on Saturday afternoon as the Flyers defeated Carolina 4-2 in a pre-season game. Mike Richards summoned the ghost of Rod Brind'Amour from Game 5 of Philly's 1997 series with Pittsburgh (Mario Lemieux's first last game) and potted two short-handed goals en route to victory.

The Flyers AHL team, the Phantoms, who call the Spectrum home, will close out the building later this spring. The parent and minor club will face off on October 7th.

During pre-game ceremonies, the Flyers organization honored their captains. Eric Lindros was the only one absent as he was attending the funeral of a friends mother. The "Big E" did leave a video message for Flyer fans in attendance.

For more on the ceremony, check out Bill Fleischmann's tremendous wrap up.

Mario Lemieux Foundation total donation: $195

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September 25, 2008

RBK's Highly Creative T-Shirt Slogan Makers

So the marketing geniuses at NHL-RBK has created these zesty new t-shirt in anticipation of next weekend's NHL Premiere series over in Stockholm and Prague.

Seriously, that must have been a pretty freakin' long brainstorming session to come up those catchy slogans. And the $26.99 price tag? You're better off putting that money towards NHL Center Ice or GameCenter Live.

Mario Lemieux Foundation total donation: $190

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New Feature Coming to GFH October 10

Be on the lookout for a new feature here at GFH beginning October 10. Every Friday, Patrick Hoffman will be bringing you the "Friday Five", a top five list of various hockey related subjects. I'm sure you'll see such things like top five logos, players, jersey's, etc., etc....maybe even the top five Ice Girls to help me piss off some more people?

Patrick has covered the NHL since 2003. He has worked for a variety of hockey media sources including Stan Fischler, Spector’s Hockey,, McKeen’s Hockey, Blueshirt Bulletin, NY SportsDay,,, and XM's Home Ice Channel Hockey Blog.

He'll be a welcomed addition to GFH beginning October 10.

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Alexander Ovechkin's ESPN the Magazine Cover

The NHL preview issue hits newsstands Thursday.

Photo courtesy

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September 24, 2008

On the LCS Hockey Radio Show Tonight at 9 p.m. ET

So, Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was slated to be on the LCS Hockey radio show tonight, but apparently forgot the Penguins are playing the Leafs and he had to cancel.

What, they don't have phones in the press box Rob?

I'll be taking Mr. Rossi's place and as Mike Dell said to me this afternoon, "When people say 'Sean Leahy? Who canceled?', you can say, 'Rob Rossi'"


Take a listen tonight at 9 p.m. ET over at Blogtalk Radio or catch it on iTunes tomorrow morning.

We'll be discussing shenanigans and tomfoolerly, but not necessarily in that order.

UPDATE: My phone died about an hour in, but check out the good times here.

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Penguins-Leafs on NHL Network Thursday Morning

Unless you live in Canada and have TSN, tonight's Pens-Leafs preseason tilt from Mellon Arena will not be televised here in the States. However, if you're one of the fortunate few that have NHL Network US, then you can catch the replay of the game on tomorrow morning at 6:30 a.m. ET.

The game will be the first of a home and home between the two teams before Pittsburgh leaves for Stockholm on Saturday night.

UPDATE: Well, looks like the Pens have decided to stream the game via their website live tonight, only if you're in Pittsburgh apparently.

"Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Mellon Arena. Fans will be able to watch the raw jumbotron feed of the game (no announcers). Because of NHL video regulations, the game will be available only to viewers in the Pittsburgh region."

Mario Lemieux Foundation total donation: $180

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September 23, 2008

Got a Hockey Blog?

In my never ending quest to clean up around here, I've added some link banners to the GFH Facebook, Myspace, and other good stuff as well as deleted some blogs on the blogroll that weren't updated in months.

So, with that in mind, if you've got a hockey blog and want to add it to the list, please leave a comment with your link and I'll toss it up there.

I'm working on a redesign, but with my pickyness, that might be a while.

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Patrick Kane is Very Small and Very Young

The Blackhawks unveiled their Harris Club last week and as the team describes, "The new Club offers fans for the first time a luxurious executive suite experience at a fraction of the cost of suite ownership."

It's still $17,750 for season tickets or $175 a game for the following:

- 45 Bulls and 44 Blackhawks preseason and regular season home games
- Buffet-style dining with all beverages included at no additional charge
- One parking pass for every two seats purchased
- Three bars located within the Club Lounge atmosphere with couches, flat screen televisions, pool table, and Nintendo Wii
- Ample room to circulate within the Club

Anyway, they had a big party to announce this and Joakim Noah from the Bulls and Patrick Kane were on hand to represent the United Center's occupants. Here's some snapshots:

No, that's not a local kid from the YMCA playing Noah in Wii, that's Kane

Joakim Noah didn't get the memo about the suit.

I <3 style="text-align: left;">Wyshynski has more on the event, including interviews with Kane and Noah.

It's insane to me how young and small Kane is and how he's able to translate that into success in the NHL. I remember seeing his draft photo last year and shrieking in horror when I saw acne on his face. It made be feel incredibly old.

Mario Lemieux Foundation total donation: $175

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