2012 vanished without any deal to finally get the 2012-13 NHL season under way, but fans now have reason to be hopeful, AP reports. The league and the players' association are back on speaking terms and held their first face-to-face meeting since Dec. 13 yesterday. The lockout has caused games to be canceled through Jan. 14, wiping out more than half the season, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says a deal must be reached by Jan. 11 to save the season.
A deal before Jan. 11 would allow the league to hold a week of training camp before starting a shortened season. "We've said we need to drop the puck by Jan. 19 if we're going to play a 48-game season," the commissioner says. "We don't think it makes sense to play a season any shorter than that." They plan to meet again today. (Read more NHL stories.)