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Lockout forces NHL to cancel games through Dec. 30

(Reuters) - The National Hockey League (NHL) canceled another two weeks of the regular season on Monday, wiping out all games through December 30 due to a labor dispute with locked-out players that threatens to wipe out the entire campaign.

The decision, which comes less than a week after labor talks between the NHL and union representing it players collapsed, brings the total number of lost regular season games to 526, or 42.8 percent of the season, the league said in a statement.

Talks between the two sides broke down last Thursday but NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said on Sunday the league had been in touch with the NHL Players' Association and that they could resume bargaining this week.

The dispute, which the NHL has said is costing it between $18-$20 million a day, centers around how to divide the league's $3.3 billion in annual revenue.

Time is running out to salvage a season that was due to start in mid-October.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has not set a deadline date for starting a condensed schedule, but said last week the league could not hold a season shorter than the 48-game campaign used in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season.

A usual NHL regular season is 82 games.

The dispute is the fourth work stoppage in 20 years for the NHL and the first since a lockout wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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