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Don Cherry confident NHL will return mid-Jan., compares lockout to 94-95 season

Hockey commentator Don Cherry speaks to reporters at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday, February 15, 2011, in Toronto.

Darren Calabrese/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Don Cherry is confident that the NHL's lockout will end soon.

The Hockey Night in Canada commentator tweeted on Saturday that he is sure the ongoing labour dispute between the league and its players' association will end within the next few weeks.

"Look to the middle of January for the game to return!" said Cherry from his verified Twitter account. "Those people who say it won't be good hockey because it's only half a season don't know what they're talking about."

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The former head coach of the Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies pointed out that the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season was still exciting to watch.

"Don't you remember the last time it was half a season and New Jersey won the Cup? It was a sprint not a marathon," said Cherry. "Play within their own conference. Lots of action. The guys know every game is important. Won't have the half season blahs. It will be terrific!"

Cherry continued, saying the NHL and players union will get a crunch-time deal done.

"They will go to the brink and then settle," said the 78-year-old. "Nobody in their right mind would kill the goose that lays these golden eggs."

The lockout is in its 98th day. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and players' association special counsel Steve Fehr spoke on the phone Saturday but still haven't made plans to meet face to face.

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