Forum answers V - LA Kings Insider

I’ll be heading out for the development camp momentarily, but first, here’s another set of the Open Forum questions and answers. Much more to come from camp!

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Rock asked: a) Do you know where members of the squad are spending their free time(holidays/offseason) right now? Specialy Kopi? Is he in Slovenia? b) When does the actual work/training with the first team start? c) Do you know why the cap space for nhl and nba teams are pretty similar, despite nhl teams have roster of ~25 players and nba teams like ~10-12? Is this due to nba being a lot more profitable? d) we signed parse for extension, do you know for any players that are RFA or UFA, that will 100% NOT come back to Kings uniform?

Answers: 1) They’re really all over the place. A couple — Dustin Brown and Sean O’Donnell immediately come to mind — will spend the majority of their time in Southern California, but most will go back to their hometowns for the majority of the summer. Kopitar sounded like he was planning to spend most of his time in Slovenia, although I imagine he would come in for a summer training session, similar to the one the Kings did last summer. 2) The start date for training camp has not yet been announced, but it’s typically sometime around Sept. 11-14, in that range. 3) I really don’t know how the NBA calculates its salary cap, but the NHL cap is tied to revenues. Regardless, NBA players make substantially more money than NHL players and, yes, the sport does generate significantly more revenue through TV deals, etc. 4) All of the five restricted free agents (Cliche, Clune, Elkins, Lewis, Richardson) have been offered contracts, so the Kings will retain their rights. As to the UFAs, there’s no deadline for cutting them loose. On July 1, they’re free to sign anywhere, so their chances of coming back to the Kings are no better or worse than of any other team. It’s not as though the Kings ever renounce their rights.

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LAKingsFan26 asked: I heard Liewicke make a statement to the media stating the Kings lost a lot of money this past season. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. The Kings were under the cap, had strong revenue (3 home playoff games), and I believe had 21 sellouts. Do some successful teams take losses in certain years? Absolutely. Detroit took major losses when they were free spending with their $100M+ payroll pre-cap era and had early playoff exits. The owners in the NHL are not in the business to lose money. I firmly feel that most teams make $$ every year including the Kings in 2009-2010. How much creedence do you take what he says regarding this?

Answer: I’m really not sure how to answer that. How much credence do I take from it? Unless there’s some contrary evidence, I’d have to assume he’s being honest until it’s proven otherwise. Personally, I don’t assume that someone is lying to me unless I have some evidence that they are. A few years back, the Kings opened their books to a fan who, I believe — and please correct me if I’m wrong — discovered that the numbers were pretty much what the Kings were saying. The one thing that I do take issue with Leiweke with is the idea that money that goes from the Kings to Staples Center is somehow a loss. I understand that it’s an entirely different business model, but it all falls under the AEG banner. If money that stays within AEG is considered part of a “loss,” I might take issue. One word of caution…don’t put too much stock in “sellouts.” When an NHL team announces a sellout, it simply means that every ticket has been “distributed,” and not necessarily sold. As you can imagine, there’s quite a difference.

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Mike in Oregon asked: In reading this and other blogs there are a lot of Kings fans expecting to see Kovalchuk signed by Kings. Speaking metaphorically, if DL does not sign Kovalchuk, will there be any safe places for DL to go? He is so conservative on the big, long deals. I think it’s safe to say after seeing the Hawks sign big FA like Keith and Hossa that for the right player, it’s worth taking the hit for 10 years. Your thoughts on that. You gotta think Kovalchuk on the Kings, healthy for a whole season and some adroit trade deadline pickup(s) gets the Kings well past the first round and perhaps all the way. Since the cap space will apparently be increased, allowing for signing Doughty and JJ et al, isn’t it a safe bet to bring in a 27 year old superstar? In need be, forget JJ and bring Kovalchuk. I am one of the people ready to commit Hari-Kiri if Kovalchuk is not putting on a King’s jersey on July 2.

Answer: Lombardi is conservative in the sense that, yes, he really wants to make sure he has the correct player before he offers the huge contract, but he did offer the huge contract to Hossa, who took a huge contract from Chicago instead. I don’t think there’s anyone who is questioning that Kovalchuk would improve the Kings. That would be a tough argument to make. I would urge you, though, not be be quite so flippant with the idea that the cap will automatically increase enough to allow the Kings to take care of all their young players. That’s a huge, huge assumption, and given that another labor showdown is possible two summers from now, it’s an even bigger assumption. I respect the fact that you’re on record saying you’d be willing to cut loose Jack Johnson in order to get Kovalchuk. That’s the type of factor that Lombardi has to weigh. You might be willing to give up whatever it takes to get Kovalchuk, but I’m not sure that Lombardi, or a majority of your fellow fans, would agree.

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O-Dawg asked: Hey Rich, The Kings used to play an occassional preseason game down here in San Diego. Can you find out if they plan on doing that again in the future? There are a lot of Kings fan down here in SD. Thanks for all you do.

Answer: There’s not a game scheduled for San Diego this year, and no decisions beyond this year have been made about preseason games. I imagine the presence of the AEG-owned arena in Ontario made San Diego a less-attractive option.

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EASportsMgt asked: Thank you again for all you do. You better believe I’m ready to get the next LAKiungs Insider Suite going again.
The one question I have is about Alec Martinez and your thoughts. It seems to me that not a lot of people have confidence in this kid. Yet two years ago, he was the last D man to be cut, and TM said at that point, that was the hardest cut he had to do. Last year, with OD’s suspension, he made the roster and then got hurt. He was also the only D-man to be called up from Manchester of I’m not mistaken, and yet again no one is expecting him to make the team. Do you really think he has slipped that far down below Muzzin and Hickey after getting his feet wet in the NHL and wont make the team this year?
Answers: 1) That’s great to hear. We’ll pick a date far in advance and hopefully have it be even bigger and better this year. 2) I’d agree that Martinez sort of gets lost in the shuffle, through no real fault of his own. I would sort of describe him as an “in-between” guy. The presumption is that his ceiling isn’t as high as that of prospects such as Muzzin and Hickey and Voynov, etc. — and I’d probably have to agree with that — but he’s been steady enough to kind of hum along and get opportunities. His name should be in the conversation, but his problem is that he’s going to have to become a standout in at least one particular area in order to get some attention. I know he has some offensive ability, so if he can show more of that scoring potential, and distinguish himself from some of these higher-profile prospects, he will help himself out a lot.

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909kingsfan asked: i hear rummors about the kings tradding bernier for carter do you think this has a chance of happening ?

Answer: No. At this point, I can’t imagine any realistic scenario that has the Kings trading Bernier.

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Kings Fan in Buffalo asked: Hey, I know it’s a long shot but is there any chance of us claiming Cheechoo or Kotalik off waivors?

Answer: No, there’s no indication that that’s a possibility.

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OttoKing asked: Are the Kings at all interested in bringing Olli Jokinen back? He could be a good fit as a #2 centre if Stoll/Handzus were not around.

Answer: I really don’t think so. I don’t see the fit, and given that Jokinen made more last year than both Stoll and Handzus, I don’t see him as an upgrade to either guy, so I’m not sure why they would make that move.

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Paul From Oxnard asked: EVERYONE is going to ask you whether you think the Kings will sign Kovalchuk. I’ll ask that regardless of where he signs, how much do you think it will take to get him under contract? He turned down $10M a year from Atlanta. Do you think it’ll take less then that? More? Depends on the team?

Answer: Depends on the team. If a team anywhere near contention offered him $10 million, I think he would jump at it in a heartbeat. The fact that he turned down $10 million in Atlanta, some people looked at that and automatically assumed that he would be seeking more. Realistically, he had zero interest in staying in Atlanta. They could have offered him 50-percent ownership in CNN and he would have said no. So that’s why I said, a couple days ago, that I think it will come down to home many teams join the hunt, which teams, and how much they’re willing to spend. I’m certain that Lombardi has a number in mind that he won’t exceed, and I’m equally certain that he won’t tell anyone what that number is.

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Hawaii Kings Fan asked: Whats your contract situation? Can we expect to see you back next year with this blog? I really enjoyed it, especially since I dont live in the LA area anymore. Hopefully the Kings will keep you around.

Answer: I appreciate you asking. Very kind, and yes, I’m just fine. When I came aboard last year, it was with a multi-year agreement, so everything is good.

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lv is the way asked: Rich_ great coverage of the draft.. My question is when a player is up for arbitration, how does that work..?

Answer: If a player has arbitration rights, either the player or the team can send the situation to arbitration. The team will submit a salary figure and the player will submit a salary figure. The team and the player’s agent will talk over “evidence” — largely statistics and comparable salaries of other players — and the arbiter will decide how much a player receives. The decision is binding on both sides.

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Don’t Fear the Gingers asked: With so much talk about this year’s Free Agent class (or lack thereof), talk about some of the RFA’s which might be on the radar. With such a thin talent pool after 3-4 blue chip guys, do you think some offer sheets might find their way in front of some top talent RFA’s (Bobby Ryan and Kyle Quincey come to mind).

Answer: Are you asking about offer sheets in general, or about the Kings trying to sign players to offer sheets. If it’s the former, I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple pop up. If it’s the latter, I would be stunned, because Lombardi has been so public about warning other GMs to not even attempt to poach his guys. If he went on the offensive, he would become a huge target for a number of years.

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nykingfan asked: If Schenn were to win a job with the Kings this summer, do you think that would be as a top 6 forward (center)or 4th line? If it would be as a #2 center, do you think the Kings would look to move Stoll to open the spot for Schenn?

Answer: Well, I think it will all be dictated by what happens in training camp and the preseason. If Schenn is absolutely lights-out and is far and away the second-best center in camp, it’s not totally unreasonable to think that he would end up in a top-six role. I find that to be a pretty unlikely prospect. Schenn would have to be an absolute revelation in order for the Kings to make a 19-year-old rookie, with one game of NHL experience, their No. 2 center in place of a veteran two-way player who is excellent on faceoffs and can play special teams.

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seabass asked: What roll to you see Scott Parse playing with the Kings next season? Does the organization trust him enough to give him top 6 minutes to start the season? I hope he works on his dot to board play in the offseason, whatever that entails.

Answer: It will depend a lot on what other pieces, if any, the Kings add via free agency or trade. If they add a clear top-six forward, and don’t give up any — meaning that Smyth, Kopitar, Williams, Stoll and Brown are still here — it’s pretty unlikely that Parse would get top-six minutes. If there’s still a hole there on the wing, Parse would get a look. Regardless, consistency remains the issue for Parse. The Kings like his offensive potential, but Parse ran into trouble with Terry Murray when Murray felt he didn’t get a consistent effort from Parse at both ends.

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MR King asked: What do you expect your reaction to be if the Kings actually did sign Kovalchuk? Jaw on the floor excitement? Passive indifference? Displeased anger maybe? I figure news like that would be a big story for someone in your position to report.

Answer: Honestly, no matter what happens on July 1, it’s going to be a very busy day for me. I’m not really concerned about whether it happens or not, as much as I’m concerned about doing a good job on July 1 to report on the news of the day, whatever it is.

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Crash Davis asked: Rich, my question has to do about a Top 4 D-Man. IMO we had one 2 years back in Brad Stuart, who rebounded with the Kings in ‘07-’08 and played well. Then we traded him to Detroit @ the deadline, where he won a Cup. He was a UFA that summer 2008. Was A) there interest in bringing him back to the Kings? and B) was the contract he wanted too much price wise? I seem to remember he wanted to stay with a winning team at that point (Red Wings). I believe – but am not sure – that with one of the the picks we got for him we drafted Wayne Simmonds. But that might have been part of the Sopel trade. Not sure.

Answer: There was indeed interest in bringing him back to the Kings. As I recall — and my memory starts to fade after a couple years, but I believe this is true — the Kings offered Stuart the exact same contract that the Red Wings offered, but Stuart wanted to go to the team with a better chance of winning (it worked). And just to clarify on the latter part, Simmonds was drafted with the Sopel pick. The Stuart trade brought second- and fourth-round picks, and the second-round pick was flipped to Colorado for Brad Richardson.

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Paul From Oxnard asked: Here’s another question I’ve been thinking about. A lot of Kings fans on this blog seem to be begging for the Kings to trade Handzus and/or Stoll. I can’t for the life of me understand why. What do you think Rich?

Answer: If I was a GM, I would approach that the same way I would approach anything else. If trading Handzus and/or Stoll made my team better, both in the short term and the long term, I’d do it. Otherwise I wouldn’t. Beyond that, there’s no particular reason to seek to get rid of either player, I don’t believe.

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Question: When/Where/What is this summer workshop for aspiring journalists? How can I be a part of it?

Answer: Only if you’re a high school student!

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nosoupforyou asked: Rich, it appears that Lokti and Voynov are not scheduled for the development camp this week. do you have any insight on that?

Answer: I have tried to find out about this, but I don’t have a complete answer. I believe it might be a visa issue, given that they are Russia-based players and there might be an issue with simply flying them in for three days in June.

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Meowie asked: Rich, are you tired of answering all the questions in regards to Kovalchuk?

Answer: Honestly, there are some topics that get repetitive, but not this one. It’s a legitimately big story, whether it happens or not, so I certainly understand the interest.

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frisking asked: 1)Did it bother you that they kept showing Jack Nicholson with his Yankees cap, cheering for the evil empire, in Dodgers stadium last night? I’m not even a Dodgers fan and it bugged me.
2) Is there any talks about offering Modin a contract? I thought he did well with Handzus in the postseason and wouldn’t mind having him stay for a decent price.
Answer: 1) I really haven’t been concerned with the Dodgers since I stopped covering them a couple years ago. 2) Modin would probably be a “Plan B” at best, if it looked as though the free-agent and trade markets were dry. Remember, Modin had a pretty good couple months for the Kings, but otherwise he’s had a pretty rough go of it in recent years. I don’t know that you’d want to count on him as a reliable contributor for an entire season.

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Jim Jones asked: 1: Do you think it would have been better to not trade for Smyth and possibly miss the playoffs, but have a better draft pick and way more cap room this summer (not to mention Quincey)? 2. There was a report that Brian Burke was offered a 1st for Luke Schenn. Given that Brayden is LA property and the Kings drafted a L. Schenn-ish player, did that offer come from Lombardi?

Answer: 1) No, for a couple reasons. One, you have to start winning sometime. The “lose and get high draft picks” angle plays well for a couple years, and it looks as though it had some success, but when you talk about three consecutive years of it, fans and ownership are going to start getting tired of it, and you’re not helping your cause in terms of attracting top free agents either. At some point, these young players needed to know what a playoff race felt like, and that experience was invaluable. 2) Given the mutual respect that exists between Lombardi and Burke, I would find it extremely unlikely if Lombardi would be disrespectful enough to offer the No. 19 pick (or even the No. 15) pick for a player who was the fourth overall pick two years ago and who is already an NHL player.

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Galen asked: How many points do you think it will take to make the playoffs next year?

Answer: I’d have to agree with those who answered below. It never varies much from year to year. If you get in the range of 95-97, you’re sitting pretty good. Maybe even a little less.

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mark asked: Rich, do you think kings wait until next offseason to give doughty and new contract?

Answer: Well, they just don’t “give” it to him, as I’m sure you understand. They negotiate and reach an agreement. I’m relatively sure that the Kings would like to get the deal done on 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. That said, I’d be very surprised if the Doughty contract situation extended to next summer. I think both sides are motivated to get something done.

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22Sargent asked: I wanted to share an observation in regards to the question/answer above relating to debates at the draft table. I was watching the Kings table a lot through my binoculars on Saturday and it seemed to me that, if I’m recalling correctly, during the 6th round there was a strong debate between Futa and Yannetti. The Kings did not have any picks remaining, but, I think Lombardi had a deal worked out with the Pens to acquire their pick. Lombardi kept going back and forth between the Kings table and Shero. He and Shero seemed to be having a good time standing between the two tables watching and waiting for Futa and Yannetti to come to a consensus of whether this particular player would be worth it. The podium moderator (McGuire/Gregory) even had to warn the Pens about their time expiring. It would be very interesting to find out if my observations could be validated and who the debate was regarding (that part is not likely to happen).

Answer: It’s a fun observation, and I appreciate you sharing it, so I’ll use this opportunity to address this, and several other related questions. It seems there’s been about 10 different “sightings” or “situations” involving Lombardi, with people wanting to know what he was talking about and what deals he came close to doing. It’s good to see people noticing that type of thing, because it presents a small, almost infinitesimal, look at the work of an NHL general manager. Without knowing for certain, and going off the top of my head, I’d be fairly secure in saying that Lombardi talked to every GM at least once in those two days. Almost certainly once, maybe twice, perhaps five or six times. That’s why I sometimes find it humorous when people put excessive stock in a report that “the Kings are interested in so-and-so” or “the Kings have talked to such-and-such about so-and-so.” Right, they probably are and they probably did, but that makes it sound as though it’s happening in a vacuum. It’s why Lombardi often uses that quote from the movie Wall Street: “I look at a hundred deals a day. I pick one.” I part I think people sometimes lose sight of is the “hundred deals.” To try to chronicle each and every one of them would send us all to the mental hospital, and only reporting on one or two of them presents something of an incomplete picture. So it’s tough. It’s always instructive and fun to learn things, but it helps to have it in some context. Anyway, after that long rant, the short answer to your question is that I couldn’t tell you for sure. Chances are, they were talking about a trade, and that it’s one of the many conversations that led to nothing. It must have been fun to see that experience first-hand though. I hope you enjoyed it! It was a very interesting experience for me.

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Naturallawyer asked: Based on your information, is there a chance that the Kings buy anyone out this summer, or does it look like everyone will be staying put (or else traded)? Have you heard anything from the Kings one way or another re buyouts?

Answer: No buyouts, to my knowledge. I can’t imagine who would even be in consideration.

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OttoKing asked: Are the Kings at all interested in bringing Olli Jokinen back? He could be a good fit as a #2 centre if Stoll/Handzus were not around. Since his stock has taken a hit and there are questions about his play, you would think he might be a relative steal. Since both Stoll and Hnadzus make in the 3+ range, and you would think that Jokinen could be had for not a lot more than that, does that make sense? He is still pretty young (32), and could make for a pretty talented, big, pivot for Moller. I guess the cap space becomes an issue if we were to add a $8-9 mill a year contract, though. Jonathan Cheecho is seemingly available, but also has his own baggage. Any interest from DL et al? Would that be worth it?

Answer: No, I really don’t think either Jokinen or Cheechoo would fit in the Kings’ plans.

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tantrum4 asked: Any word if the Kings are planning on making their third jerseys their permanent home jerseys like they did in the playoffs last year?

Answer: I’ve heard nothing of that, no, and the draft picks were wearing the regular black/purple, so I highly doubt it. Apparently, the players were allowed to vote on which jerseys they wanted to wear in the playoffs, and chose the alternate jerseys.

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.
VIEW JAKE MUZZIN POSTS

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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