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Blackhawks

Hope fading for deal to save NHL season

TORONTO – Forget optimism, hope is nearly gone as the NHL lockout drags on.

With no negotiations scheduled, and overall communication shutting down, too, the NHL appears to be getting close to calling off more games, putting the entire hockey season in jeopardy.

"I hope not, but I'm more discouraged now than I have been at any point in the process," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday.

For the second straight day, the NHL and the players' association weren't even in contact by phone.

The sides put on a push to make an agreement last week when they met over six consecutive days in New York. However, Friday's session ended with a heated exchange, and talks lasted only about an hour on Sunday.

The 61-day lockout has already claimed 327 regular-season games, including the New Year's Day outdoor Winter Classic, and more could be wiped out within a week.

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