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NHL Leaning Toward 48 Game Season

UNDATED (AP) - The NHL appears

headed toward a 48-game season for the second time in two decades.

"I think 48 is most likely at this

point, unless the players can expedite their ratification process," NHL

deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email Monday to The Associated Press.

The NHL shortened its 82-game slate to 48

games during the 1994-95 season after a 103-day lockout. A 301-day lockout in

2004-05 made the NHL the first major North American professional sports league

to lose an entire season.

When the framework of a new collective

bargaining agreement was agreed to Sunday morning - after 16 hours of

negotiations - there was some talk of having a 50-game season start later this

month.

The NHL and the players' association are

working on a memorandum of understanding, which could be completed soon then

voted on by team owners and players. The league has circulated a memo to teams

telling them to be ready to play by Jan. 19, the date the shortened season is

expected to start.

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