NEW YORK - The earliest a shortened NHL season will start is Dec. 31.

The league cancelled another 104 regular-season games Monday. In total, the ongoing lockout has seen 526 games -- roughly 43 per cent of the season -- wiped away along with the Jan. 1 Winter Classic and Jan. 27 all-star game.

The entire schedule through Dec. 30 is now off the books. The NHL and NHL Players' Association appeared to be closing in on a deal last week before negotiations fell apart.

Commissioner Gary Bettman says the league needs to have at least a 48-game season for "integrity," which means a new CBA likely has to be signed within the next month.