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SEASON ON ICE IF HOCKEY TALKS FAIL TO HEAT UP

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This may be the week that determines whether there will be an NHL season.

"I don't think anybody is kidding ourselves," Philadelphia Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said. "We are running real short of time."The lockout enters its 79th day today. No talks are yet scheduled, so the earliest full bargaining could resume is Tuesday.

Given the Christmas travel problems, if full talks begin Tuesday or Wednesday, negotiations likely would adjourn Friday to allow the participants to return home. Talks then could resume Dec. 26 at the earliest.

"When the next meeting will be held depends on what (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow decide," Toronto general manager Cliff Fletcher said. "Both sides will have to take stock and then I assume they will then decide when the next meeting will be held."

Bettman and Goodenow have talked to each other only once since negotiations broke off Dec. 6.