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NHL cancels games through Jan. 14 as lockout continues

In this photaken Tuesday Dec. 18 2012 hockey goal sits ice Joe Louis Arenhome Detroit Red Wings hockey club Detroit.

In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, a hockey goal sits on the ice at Joe Louis Arena home of the Detroit Red Wings hockey club in Detroit. The NHL lockout that's already wiped out the first three months of the season is taking its toll on small businesses in many of the NHL's markets. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

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Updated: December 20, 2012 7:00PM

More than half of the NHL’s regular season has now been lost.

With talks for a new collective bargaining agreement stalled between the NHL owners and the NHL Players’ Association, the league announced Thursday that the regular-season schedule through Jan. 14 was canceled.

A total of 625 regular-season games -- which accounts for 50.8 percent of the season – have now been axed because of the NHL’s lockout of players.

If a deal isn’t reached soon after Christmas, the rest of the season may be next, leaving NHL fans without a season to watch for the second time since 2004. Commissioner Gary Bettman has said that anything less than a 48-game season would be unacceptable.

The cancellations weren’t a surprise with talks between the two sides very much at a standstill despite reports that the two sides are willing to begin again. But they came a day after NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said during an interview with Hockey Night in Canada radio that “Yes” there will be a hockey season when asked for a one-word response.

As for the Blackhawks, winger Patrick Kane has returned to Chicago after a stint with EHC-Biel in the Swiss League, while winger Marian Hossa recently was cleared of his concussion after working with team staff for weeks.

Hawks players, former teammates and other NHLers continue to skate and work out together during informal practices in Chicago. Many players have held off on decisions of playing elsewhere until after the holidays.

“This is the time of year that you really realize it’s hockey season, when it starts to get cold and it’s snowing out,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews told Comcast SportsNet earlier this week. “It’s sinking in more and more daily at this point that we’ve missed so much time and a lot time that we can never really make up.”

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