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NHL cancels more games, but there is hope

The NHL canceled games through Dec. 30 on Monday, meaning nearly 43 percent of the season has been wiped out by the labor war with the players.

The NHL and the players' union are expected to meet later this week, trying to end a labor dispute that started in mid-September.

The dispute is conjuring memories of the 1994-95 season, which didn't have a collective bargaining agreement in place until Jan. 11. A 48-game regular season started Jan. 20 and ended May 3.

Monday is the 86th day of the lockout. Despite a breakdown in negotiations Thursday, the sides appear close on several key issues _ closer, in fact, than at any point in the work stoppage.

If the NHL was able to start the regular season on Dec. 31 and played through April 13 (the original final date), it could play 55 games, based on a schedule in which teams played three games one week followed by four games the next week during the 15 weeks.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter@BroadStBull.