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World according to Grapes has NHL back in action by mid-January

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DON Cherry is confident that the NHL's lockout will end soon.

The Hockey Night in Canada commentator tweeted on Saturday that he is sure the ongoing labour dispute between the league and its players' association will end within the next few weeks.

"Look to the middle of January for the game to return!" said Cherry from his verified Twitter account. "Those people who say it won't be good hockey because it's only half a season don't know what they're talking about."

The former head coach of the Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies pointed out that the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season was still exciting to watch.

"Don't you remember the last time it was half a season and New Jersey won the Cup? It was a sprint not a marathon," said Cherry. "Play within their own conference. Lots of action. The guys know every game is important. Won't have the half season blahs. It will be terrific!"

Cherry continued, saying the NHL and players union will get a crunch-time deal done.

"They will go to the brink and then settle," said the 78-year-old. "Nobody in their right mind would kill the goose that lays these golden eggs."

The lockout is in its 98th day. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and players' association special counsel Steve Fehr spoke on the phone Saturday but still haven't made plans to meet face to face.

In a vote this week, union members decisively agreed to give the players association's board the power to file a "disclaimer of interest" until Jan. 2. A person familiar with the outcome of the vote told The Associated Press on Friday the measure was approved by a vote of 706-22 (97 per cent), easily reaching the two-thirds majority required.

Meanwhile, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and players' association special counsel Steve Fehr spoke on the telephone but still haven't made plans to meet face to face.

There has been very little contact this week between the sides. Daly and Fehr held a conversation Saturday, the 98th day of the lockout that is threatening to wipe out the entire hockey season.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 23, 2012 B2

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