Marc-André Fleury Leads Blackhawks To Winners Circle In Vegas

After suffering an ugly loss in Arizona, the Blackhawks headed to Vegas to play a team at the opposite end of the standings. Vegas is among the best teams in the NHL and leaders in the Western Conference. Chicago wanted/needed to play a much better game if they were going to have any chance against the Golden Knights.

Oh, and if you hadn’t heard, this was Marc-André Fleury’s first game back in Vegas since being traded to the Blackhawks. He was welcomed back as the hero he was in the first few years of Vegas’ franchise, and it clearly meant a lot to Fleury.

Also of note, Ian Mitchell was back in the lineup and Brett Connolly returned from his four-game suspension (that lasted longer because he was in COVID protocol as well).

The first period wasn’t ideal for the Hawks in front of Fleury. Ben Hutton scored his first goal of the year, beating Fleury with a shot Chicago’s netminder likely never saw to give Vegas a 1-0 lead five minutes into the contest. After 20 minutes, the Hawks had five shots on net; Vegas was credited with nine and the game’s only score.

Chicago’s effort in the second period was significantly better all over the ice. And it paid off on the scoreboard.

Juhjar Khaira tied the game at one 4:38 into the second period.

Ryan Carpenter, who talked about working harder between periods on the Chicago television broadcast, picked up the only assist on the Khaira goal.

Chicago continued to play stronger hockey, generating offense and blocking shot attempts in front of Fleury. Unlike the game in Arizona, the Blackhawks stayed out of the penalty box over the first two periods so the chances they were starting to generate had some follow-up on subsequent shifts.

And those chances turned into a go-ahead goal from Riley Stillman 14 minutes into the second.

Dylan Strome and Patrick Kane picked up the helpers on Stillman’s first of the year.

Vegas out-shot the Blackhawks in the second period, but the totals were 12-11. And, more importantly, the Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead into the third period.

Unlike Nicolas Beaudin in Arizona, Mitchell was able to get on the ice more than once. In fact, he was over seven minutes of ice time in the first two periods and was playing a pretty good game.

Predictably, Vegas came out with a much more physical start to the third period. The Hawks were struggling to get pucks on net and Fleury was facing the majority of the shots.

Fleury was terrific, however. Since allowing the first-period goal, he was on his game. And he was asked to make a few big saves down the stretch.

Robin Lehner left the ice for an extra Golden Knights attacker with 1:50 left in regulation. Fleury made a huge save with about 70 seconds left in regulation. His teammates iced the puck with 32.8 left on the clock, giving Vegas a chance to get fresh bodies on the ice for an offensive zone draw. Kirby Dach lost the draw (surprise!) but Fleury made another terrific save.

The final seconds rolled off the clock and the Blackhawks picked up their first win of the calendar year in an emotional homecoming for Fleury.

Chicago successfully stayed out of the penalty box for the entire night.

The Hawks’ blue line had a very good night. Stillman’s goal was the game-winner. Connor Murphy led the way with five blocked shots and two hits in 24:21. Seth Jones blocked three shots and put two on net in 27:24. Jake McCabe had four hits and two blocked shots in 23:34. And Calvin de Haan blocked four shots in 21:17.

Chicago allowed only five shots on net in the final 16 minutes of the game — with a one-goal lead. A completely different effort than the crap-the-bed display in Arizona.

Khaira added ten (10) hits to his third goal of the season. Jonathan Toews won nine of 12 faceoffs and Strome won 10 of 15 draws. Dach won two of eight.

48 thoughts on “Marc-André Fleury Leads Blackhawks To Winners Circle In Vegas

  • January 8, 2022 at 11:33 pm
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    Great game by Fleury!!! No penalties for the Hawks.

  • January 8, 2022 at 11:37 pm
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    Wow
    What a touching moment for Fleury at the beginning of the game
    And what a save at the end of the game .
    2 pts more for the Hawks .
    And the knights where hit very often tonight and they didn’t like it .
    Very nice game .

  • January 8, 2022 at 11:44 pm
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    With the win, Fleury has now defeated all 32 teams in the NHL.

  • January 8, 2022 at 11:49 pm
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    Thx tab
    Hahaha that’s a good news for him .very happy for him .
    We are lucky to have him for a short time .
    He should be gone before the end of the year but who knows where he will sign next year ?

  • January 8, 2022 at 11:49 pm
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    Stay out of the box and you don’t dig yourself a hole & can get traction. Imagine that?!?!
    It is the biggest serotonin boost to be able to watch Marc-Andre; WOW. just wow. Carpenter played his butt off and Mitchell did too.
    Personally, I’m exhausted by the parade of announcers, watched the game on mute. Maybe that’s another key? I don’t know… On to the next.

    p.s. late comment on the previous post: HARD PASS on Evander Kane. I don’t want ANY piece of that guy around my club, IMO.

  • January 8, 2022 at 11:51 pm
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    Nice tribute to Fleury.
    Took 3 of 4 points from Vgk and Avs, but nothing against Coyotes, imagine.

  • January 8, 2022 at 11:55 pm
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    The positives: Fleury played inspired hockey tonight. He was magnificent. Toews and Strome were very strong at the faceoff. Khaira was hitting everything and doing it cleanly. No penalties and the defense was sacrificing the body to block shots. DeBrincat and Connolly led the team with 3 SOG apiece. The big guns didn’t score, but Kane, Strome, and Carpenter all had the assists on the Khaira and Stillman goals, respectively. Strome is winning the battle between him and Borgstrom to centerthe top line. Consistency will be the next hurdle.

    Negatives: Not a lot…but a few. Strome, Kurashev, Entwistle, and Dach had 0 SOG. ZERO! These are supposed to be the offensive guys. Kane had only 1 SOG. However, he and Strome did have the Assist on the Stillman goal.
    Dach’s faceoff woes continue. But, he only took 8 faceoffs. I would have liked if he won 4. 2 is, again, not going to cut it.
    Ian Mitchell only had 7:24 TOI. If Coach King is not going to give the offensively gifted young defensemen more ice time, then just bring up guys like Phillips, Watson, or Stanton. It’s frustrating to know that the team has these offensively gifted defensemen but refuses to let them play any significant role.

    Overall, this was a good team win against a quality team. Will there be a letdown come Tuesday against the CBJ??? We’ll see. Tonight was a good team win.

  • January 9, 2022 at 12:06 am
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    Saw only second half of the game but the Hawks were skating like they meant it – where has that effort been lately?

    Strome was competing I repeat Strome was competing – maybe it’ll only be for one game but for one game he looked like his salary

    Happy to see Mitchell in

    Liked the new lines – Kane without Cat
    Strome without Cat
    Spread it out – if you work hard you’ll get your chances
    Kub with Toews finally

    With Hagel back Borgstrom to 4C where maybe he can win more draws than Carp

    Seth with McCabe worked – let Seth handle the puck

    No penalties means the PK can’t lose the game

    Very happy for Fleury

    Can they put out this effort against other opponents when it’s not ‘win for MAF night’ ? – I have serious doubts which is why this team is where it is but a win over VGK is better than an ass kicking from ARZ

    Let’s see if they can take any momentum from this game into the next

  • January 9, 2022 at 12:10 am
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    I’ve been out of pocket for a few days so I must have missed the recent trade – whose the new guy wearing #17? He looked decent tonight. Seriously, probably the best 60 minute effort of the year, everyone skated hard.

    Responding to the last post count me as a no for Eddie O. to take a senior role. Other than his lackluster time as coach he has no other experience. I thought the purpose of hiring the consultant was to identify the “best in class structure” and then find the most qualified candidates. If that is true then I can’t imagine the scenario where Eddie and Kyle are the best solution.

  • January 9, 2022 at 12:55 am
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    Hadn’t seen such a strong forecheck (mostly in the 2nd and 3rd) by the Hawks in a long time. Hope they continue doing it.

    Still struggle breaking out of their own zone.

    Fleury is fabulous.

  • January 9, 2022 at 12:58 am
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    Vegas looks like a much different team minus,Reaves,Tuch,Pacioretti,Carrier,etc. Not a whole lot of physicality and work ethic. Toews,DeBrincat,and Kubalik were decent. Khaira,Connelly,and Carpenter were also strong. Wasn’t crazy about Kane and Dach for the most part. They were kept to the outside and did not work very hard to get any quality chances. Fleury played a strong final 2 periods. Strome was good at Center. Wish Mitchell would be allowed to play regular 3rd period minutes instead of babying him. The rest of the defense played physical and smart staying out of the box and taking away the net front. Put Hagel and Slavin with Kane and make him skate and work for chances. No goals for him in over a month now. Thats inexcusable.

  • January 9, 2022 at 1:04 am
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    Effort

  • January 9, 2022 at 4:09 am
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    The good: Fleury! Khaira, Jones, Entwistle, Carpenter, not seeing Gus, seeing Mitchell, and wow did we really just take 2 points in regulation no less from Vegas in their barn!???

    Q speak – was alright: Toews, Connolly, Mitchell, McCabe, Murphy (minus crushing Kubs with his knuckle puck), Kurashev’s effort.

    The ugly: Stillman’s play and his goal, Debrincat’s uncanny ability to give the puck away in his own zone almost Gus like but not quite, Kane’s effort lately, Kubalik’s complete loss of aim, the way the coaches on both teams lift up and down their masks like they know it’s useless and the whole thing is a big charade but they are too emasculated to actually say something and stand up to any of their bosses about it.

  • January 9, 2022 at 4:26 am
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    The biggest difference between last night’s game and the Arizona game, was that the forwards worked back and checked. The defensemen stopped turning the puck over and Fleury was just Fleury! I liked the Kane, Strome, and Borgstrom line, and really enjoyed watching Dach, Entwhistle, and Mitchell play well. Now, I just want consistency!

  • January 9, 2022 at 7:18 am
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    Has Dach ever won a faceoff draw in his entire career?

  • January 9, 2022 at 7:47 am
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    Add me to the “Hell No on Evander Kane” interest here. Analysis on “TV guy of the night”: This was the same guy that did the radio broadcast the game before, I couldn’t visualize where the heck the puck was that night, it was that bad. The guy did a little better on TV but he sounded like he had a head cold. Offset that with the “Whiny, Nasal Drip” of Colby Cohen and love him or hate him, people will surely miss the play by play of Pat Foley. I miss him already.

  • January 9, 2022 at 8:22 am
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    It’s called having the ability to communicate in a noisy setting Darren. I doubt you are that stupid, but I don’t doubt your obsession.

  • January 9, 2022 at 8:45 am
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    It reminded me of one of those games in the 70’s vs Blues ! What I call a short score tough game with a great ending ! Congrats to my Hawks ! Pops 4

  • January 9, 2022 at 8:52 am
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    It’s time to put Kirby on a wing and see what he can do. Kid has talent but sure as hell isn’t showing much.

  • January 9, 2022 at 9:26 am
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    SS: Your right about something: You’re definitely on a Top 5 list for cynical people here.

  • January 9, 2022 at 9:43 am
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    The good….they played their hearts out for MAF, can they do that twice in a row?

    Mitchell at least got 7 minutes…..wow

    I’ll take anyone over Colby, absolutely anyone.

    I thought people post here to post their opinions, why some people attack others for doing that reminds me of the vaxxed attacking the anti vaxxed, just plainly stupid

  • January 9, 2022 at 10:02 am
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    I come here to read/talk about hockey related stuff–not masks & vaccines & other crap. I get enough of that at work. I can scroll by with the best of them but it would be nice to stick to hockey-related topics.

  • January 9, 2022 at 10:28 am
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    Strome was a beast, chasing and hunting the puck all over the ice. A couple of nice passes to Kane. Furious when he missed a prime chance. If the Hawks could get that type of passion from him say three out of every four games in the last roughly 59 games they might have a player.

    Mitchell played fine even though it was only seven minutes. It would great if he turns into an NHLer

  • January 9, 2022 at 10:40 am
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    Craig – the cat’s (no pun intended) out of the bag now with Strome – he can compete hard after all and be a useful player

    So no excuses going forward

    The same can be said of the whole team – now we know that they can do it (skate hard, win battles, play smart, forecheck,backcheck) no excuses for not doing it every game

    We’ll see in the remaining games who wants to stay in CHI long term and who feels that the type of effort they put out last night should only happen every blue moon

    Anything less than last night’s focus and compete means you’ve got passengers – those passengers are the ones who shouldn’t be here past this year

  • January 9, 2022 at 10:44 am
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    @Craig …..if you can say the same thing about Strome for the next 5 games then you might be on to something. As of now his MO is one good/decent game then 5-10 absolutely horseshit games. The admiration of Strome on every Hawk website is a fascinates me.

  • January 9, 2022 at 11:10 am
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    Keeping on a hockey topic, respecting what Tab’s wishes are and respecting others who don’t want opinions on other topics. Strome gotta show he can/will play that hard on regular basis, not just one game, before i get too excited, if he does be a great boost for him and the team. Jury still out for me on how much the way Vgk played last night had to do with the outcome, the passive team we saw last is not the normal Vegas group we got used too. Still a very a good win for the guys.

    Good things happen when top notch goaltending gives you a chance to win and the team doesn’t let the special team battle beat you. Wonder how long Hagel is out, miss his hard work out there, fun to watch.

  • January 9, 2022 at 11:16 am
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    Strome’s game was an eye-opener for me. And not just this game, but the past couple have shown flashes of compete, especially at the dot. I’d like him to hit the net with his shots, of course, but am more interested in the chances. He missed the net on one opportunity and looked pretty upset about it- that’s what I want to see. If he can finally figure it out and continue this play then we’ve got something. No more healthy scratches. It’s now or never for Dylan Strome.

  • January 9, 2022 at 11:34 am
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    I still wish we had Corey over Fluery

    One year ago today, Corey Crawford retired.

    Corey Crawford #Blackhawks career
    2010-11 All-Rookie
    2x All-Star
    2x Jennings Trophy winner
    2x Stanley Cups
    260 wins (3rd all-time)
    52 playoff wins (most all-time)
    12,778 saves (3rd all-time)
    26 shutouts (7th all-time)
    5 playoff shutouts (T2nd all-time)

    Put #50 in the UC rafters! pic.twitter.com/OoC7nv9KFo

    — Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) January 9, 2021

  • January 9, 2022 at 11:43 am
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    Dollar Bill: You can thank the departed StanBo for getting rid of Corey. And then turning around and getting an older goalie(mind you Fleury has exceeded my expectations of him).

  • January 9, 2022 at 12:14 pm
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    For those of you still pining for Corey, Stan-bo made a rare, great call not re-signing him, it would’ve just been more lost salary… how many NHL games has Corey played since then? Yeah he was great, but so were many other Hawks who reached the end of their playing days

  • January 9, 2022 at 12:16 pm
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    Dollar Bill, i wished Crawford was resigned at the time but he is apparently happy in retirement and Crawford says he is happy he got a chance to play in Chicago. Seems to have worked out for both players, i guess.

  • January 9, 2022 at 12:22 pm
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    Not a mention of what a Players Only meeting can do. Strome plays to his size and capabilities people will forget about Schmaltz. Thinking the Captain or Captains laid into everyone.

    Forwards constantly moving attacking was nice to see. Size helps Connelly Strome Khaira Entwistle Borgstrom heck even DCat played big.

    Let’s see next game.

  • January 9, 2022 at 12:33 pm
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    49: We’ll never know how Corey would been playing another year or two but two things are clear: It probably wouldn’t have made a difference anyway here and he would have been about $2-$3 million cheaper which StanBo would have overpaid on somebody else.

  • January 9, 2022 at 1:08 pm
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    Thanks hammer for the compliment!! One of my favorite sayings – Know your place.

    Letting Crawford go seemed to be the catalyst for going young last season. Then a drastic change of course this season which, in my opinion, has been a massive failure for many reasons.

    Personally, I am trying to move past the recent leadership behind the bench and in the offices and am hoping for change that can lead to a clear direction of growth for this hockey team. We obviously lack consistency and enough talent. Time for change, and being in limbo as fans, and a team, is … well… a crappy place to be.

  • January 9, 2022 at 1:33 pm
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    Silent Spot: Hey I wasn’t the one that came up with “walldogs”, That’be YOU!!

  • January 9, 2022 at 1:54 pm
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    I lived Crow and still believe he is underrated – he had a few ups and downs in the playoffs but he was so clutch in 2013 and 2015 finals

    However it was the right call to move on and that was proven by the fact he had to retire after signing as UFA with Jersey – he couldn’t play anymore – his body had had enough

    I’m still hopeful that Hawks can get a first for MAF – I know EDM is desperate to get a goalie and not waste another year of McDavid /Draistl – if they don’t make a run soon it’s possible one or the other or both will start looking elsewhere as their contracts come up

    MAF for EDM #1 seems a prefect fit for both EDM and CHI

  • January 9, 2022 at 2:04 pm
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    Hammer yes it was!
    Do you remember walldog and what he was like on the board? There are numerous people here who like to sound the very same way. As a cynic and a skeptic, it just makes me wonder.

    Gotta say the walldogs are having a great year compared to Hawks fans!

  • January 9, 2022 at 3:08 pm
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    If Strome and Kubalik aren’t traded, they will need a 3.6m and 4m qualifyiing offers respectively to retain their rfa rights or they walk as ufas unless extended before then. Which could be hard to get them to sign for less before then.

  • January 9, 2022 at 3:22 pm
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    Silent Spot: Never seen a post from a “walldog”, just seen you posting about one with a definition of what a “walldog” was. Your post to Darren fit that definition of one.

  • January 9, 2022 at 4:50 pm
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    People forgot to mention that vegas looked disinterested most of the game and why should they compete hard against a team they have owned since vegas came into the league. Our effort was good but really they didn’t throw their usual waves of effort and speed and physicality at us last night. We’ll take it. We also scored 2 goals that probably shouldn’t have gone in. Khaira looked off for the pass a little but the shot wasn’t a world beater and lehner prob saves that 8 times of 10. Stillman’s goal was a complete fluke and I would estimate vegas had more chances if not better ones most of the game too though the game was not one where there were many “A” level chances for either side. Hawks looked like a team that came out of a players only meeting and vegas looked like a team that just came off a Christmas break knowing they have basically clinched a playoff spot.

  • January 9, 2022 at 4:57 pm
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    Darren – all true but the effort was there vs VGK -that’s the important thing from a Hawks POV

    If the effort had been there vs ARZ they’d have beat a team they should beat and be on a 2 winning streak now

    So as always with these Hawks can they follow one good effort up with another? More often than not this year the answer is no but we’ll see vs CBJ – that’s a team they should be able to beat with an effort like last night

  • January 9, 2022 at 5:13 pm
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    Thanks Hammer. I thought that might be what you were trying to say.

  • January 9, 2022 at 11:41 pm
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    wrap

    their failure to bring an “a game” effort every night is merely one of the reasons this is a bad team. all of the warts are still there that preceded the vegas win. this was not the game that turned the tide. as the saying goes ….. even a blind squirrel finds a nut nice in a while.

  • January 10, 2022 at 7:21 am
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    Hawks29 – I hear ya and I don’t disagree but at least the VGK game can be a bar for effort that they either clear or don’t for each game remaining

    There will be no magical turnaround – I get that – but there can be incremental improvement and consistent effort is one area they could conceivably improve im regardless of their talent level

  • January 10, 2022 at 11:28 am
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    You know what, with an organization already this messed up, why not take a chance on Kane #2? We’d actually have a forward willing to throw their weight around who can score. That’s been lacking for quite some time.

  • January 10, 2022 at 1:48 pm
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    @Ian – Great point! There is no way that we are going to extend either Strome or Kubalik for that kind of base dollar amount. They just aren’t worth it with their play this year! We would be better served to sever ties with both at the TDL and let them contribute to someone else’s playoff journey and they can then hit the UFA market see what they’re really worth. I do like Kubalik, but he is not performing like he should be. Why not get assets for guys that we aren’t going to sign!

  • January 11, 2022 at 10:19 am
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    Boquist and Kane both have 7 goals…..wow….way to go Patrick !!
    This will be the 2nd straight year Kane will not get 20 goals. Way to earn that 10.5 mil.
    And….there are 2 players that are plus players….who are they ?? Slavin and Gustafson…..what ? Gus ??? Ya…..so let’s put nothing but minus players on the ice. Gus has 30 games and is a plus 1….plus minus leader on this team….wow that is BAD !!
    As for Boquist, he sucks as a D man, Hawks should have kept him and moved him to Wing…..and not signed Jones for that crappy contract. Just a thought.

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