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Commissioner optimistic about negotiations

Updated: March 18, 2004, 7:32 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- With talk of a possible lockout that could substantially curtail or even cancel next season, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman believes a work stoppage can be avoided.

Bettman, speaking with reporters before the Rangers played the Capitals on Thursday, said the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement Sept. 15 gives the league and union an opportunity to fix the sport's problems.

"I view September of 2004 as an opportunity to go forward," Bettman said. "I'm ...

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