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A story in today's editions of the Philadelphia Daily News suggests that Flyers owner Ed Snider -- long viewed as one of the hardline management figures in the NHL's ongoing lockout -- is softening his stance and might pressure Commissioner Gary Bettman to soften his stance and bring the dispute to a quick end.
That belief is attributed to multiple, but unnamed, sources. (A reminder: Team employees and owners are subject to seven-figure fines if they publicly discuss anything related to the lockout in terms of which Bettman does not approve.)
The Daily News story is getting attention across North America, but the greatest interest locally probably stems from a reference to the Penguins in the final paragraphs.
It says that, "Despite their on-ice rivalry, there seems to be some thinking that the Flyers are interested in teaming up with the midmarket but high-revenue Pittsburgh Penguins to sway more governors toward a swift resolution."
The Penguins have taken a moderate stance throughout the dispute, and co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle never have seemed to be particularly close with Snider.
The Penguins will not comment publicly on the Daily News story, but a person familiar with ownership's thinking says that while it seems unlikely that Lemieux and Burkle would team up with Snider in the way the story suggested might be happening, the possibility can't be ruled out because it's in the Penguins' interest to salvage as many games as possible from the 2012-13 season.
This afternoon, Snider issued a statement that labled the Daily News story "absolutely erroneous" and described himself as a "solid supporter" of Bettman.
Here's a link to the Daily News story: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20121116_Is_Flyers_Snider_helping_thaw_NHL_talks_.html
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