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NHL cancels games through Dec. 30

Mike Bolt, keeper of the Stanley Cup, takes

Mike Bolt, keeper of the Stanley Cup, takes it off the ice after members of the Vancouver Angels novice C1 minor hockey team were surprised with it before their youth practice in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Dec. 7, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

The NHL announced the cancellation of games scheduled through Dec. 30 Monday, but deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Newsday he thinks labor negotiations between the NHL and the players association will resume this week.

"I anticipate meetings this week, but no details have been finalized," Daly wrote in an email Monday.

Talks broke off late Thursday after three days of marathon sessions that, for the first time, included several so-called moderate owners, including the Pittsburgh Penguins' Ron Burkle and the Winnipeg Jets' Mark Chipman. With union chief Donald Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman out of the room, the group of owners and players, which included the Rangers' Brad Richards and the Penguins' Sidney Crosby, appeared to move closer to a deal.

But after the Players Association tried to negotiate off an NHL offer that was deemed non-negotiable, the sides broke off talks four days ago. There was some email communication over the weekend and more Monday, but the league still went ahead with cancellations.

The most recent offer by the NHL included $300 million toward the "make-whole" issue of fulfulling current contracts, called for a 10-year collective-bargaining agreement (with a mutual opt-out after eight years) and, most contentious, a five-year term limit on free-agent contracts, with seven years for teams re-signing their own players.

"That is the hill we will die on," Daly said Thursday after the union countered with a proposal for an eight-year CBA and eight-year contract term limits.

A total of 526 games, or 42.8 percent of the scheduled 2012-13 season, have been canceled.

Bettman said last week that the league could go no lower than a 48-game regular season, much like the one that it had in 1995 after a lockout. That shortened season began Jan. 20, nine days after a labor deal was completed.

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