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The legal system could take months to resolve, so both sides repeatedly have said the only way to reach a deal that would save the season is through bargaining. The 1998-99 lockout reduced that season to 50 games. It was settled shortly after the new year and play started in February.

This season games have been canceled through Dec. 15, but in reality another week probably already has been lost, given the time needed to write and approve a new collective bargaining agreement, have a free agency period, hold training camps and play exhibition games.