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NHL lockout: Danny Cleary hoping for Jan. 1 start

Danny Cleary believes that the NHL season can still be salvaged, but concede that the sides still have a ways to go.

Elsa

Detroit Red Wings' forward Danny Cleary remains somewhat optimistic that there will be an NHL season beginning in January. "Let's hope for a Jan. 1 start,'' the veteran right winger said on Monday. He and many Detroit teammates have been practicing several times a week at the Troy Sports Center. If a deal were reached, he and his teammates would immediately ramp up the intensity of their training.

More specifically, Cleary spoke positively about negotiations. "I feel we've made good strides,'' Cleary said. "When you agree on money, that's a big stride." Still, the two sides cannot seem to agree on a maximum length for player contracts. The league has proposed a five-year contract limit, but would allow teams to resign players for up to seven years. Players, however, have not offered anything less than an eight-year limit.

While many players are hoping for a Jan. 1 start, they have said that Jan. 15 is the absolute latest that they envision the season starting. If the two sides cannot agree to a deal before then, the season will likely be lost.