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NHL cancels games through Dec. 30

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 9:35 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — LOS ANGELES — The dribs and drabs — almost like an annoying dripping faucet — have taken a sizable toll.

All has proved quite costly in terms of the pocketbooks of the players, owners and arena workers. For some perspective, the last hockey game played was Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils on June 11 at Staples Center.

Fast-forward six months. Hockey’s labor dispute has accounted for the loss of 42.8 percent of the NHL season, 526 regular-season games. The NHL announced Monday the cancellation of games through Dec. 30 because of the absence of a new collective bargaining agreement.

It will be much closer to seven months without NHL hockey even if the parties were to suddenly reach a resolution, a long shot at best. But negotiations appear close to resuming this week, and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to the Los Angeles Times that Wednesday was a possibility.

“The sides are talking about resuming CBA talks,” said a spokesperson for the NHL Players Association in an email to the Times on Monday night.

Until that happens, the cutting of more games — a widely anticipated move — from the NHL schedule took center stage.

There has been no new round of talks officially scheduled since negotiations went off the rails in a big way last week. Fresh voices from both sides entered the negotiations, sparking a brief surge of optimism before the situation deteriorated Thursday.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was visibly angered at a news conference Thursday after talks broke down, capping a day and night of bizarre twists. Declaring he wanted a season “with integrity,” Bettman said it would have to be a minimum of 48 games. That’s exactly what happened in the lockout-shortened campaign of 1994-95 with the first games taking place in late January.

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