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In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, championship banners and retired numbers of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team hang from the rafters above the ice at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.Paul Sancya/The Associated Press

Another day passed without any steps toward a solution to the NHL lockout. There was some communication between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association on Thursday but it was essentially just to determine there was no point in opening negotiations again.

The NHL owners have said they are not interested in negotiating unless the NHLPA presents them with new ideas. The players union contends it has made more than enough concessions to keep any negotiations going and remains open to a return to the table.

The clock is now ticking to Jan. 2, which is the date the NHLPA is authorized to dissolve. That authorization came in a vote by the NHL players for a "disclaimer of interest." That gives the union's executive committee the authority to dissolve the NHLPA by Jan. 2, which would clear the way for the players to launch an anti-trust lawsuit against the owners and have the lockout lifted by the courts. However, the union does not have to act by Jan. 2. It can dissolve at a later date.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has made it clear the only way the owners would agree to a shortened season of no less than 48 games is if an agreement can be reached in time for the first game to be played Jan. 15. That leaves less than two weeks for the sides to cut a deal.