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The art of negotiations

Updated: September 15, 2004, 12:32 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

When the clock strikes midnight as Wednesday becomes Thursday, the NHL's collective bargaining agreement will expire.

That's when the real countdown starts.

It begins when the arena ice should be carved up by players' skates during practice, but is still fresh. It continues to tick when spanking new jerseys are left hanging in the lockers, and when newspapers across North America are forced to figure out what takes the place of the NHL stats and standings they had counted on to fill ...

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