Bettman calls Daily News report 'fabrication'

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called the Philadelphia Daily News' report on Saturday about the Flyers' private change in lockout stance a 'fabricaton,' in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press.

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Gary Lawless asked Bettman: "There was a report out of Philadelphia on Saturday that says you are losing the support of owners."

Bettman replied: "It was a fabrication. Ed Snider is the one who told me about the article when he found out about it and he was terribly upset. He's in Europe and it was his idea to put out a statement. Anyone who doubts the resolve of ownership is either uninformed or (being) intentionally misleading."

Snider, 79, the NHL's longest-serving governor and a member of the executive committee, broke the league's lockout silence mandate to issue a statement about the story:

"An article appearing in today's Philadelphia Daily News is absolutely erroneous," Snider said. "I am a solid supporter of National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and the League in this unfortunate situation. Like all fans, players, owners and League officials, I am extremely hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can eventually be playing hockey again soon. League rules prevent me and all owners from making any comments on the labor negotiations. I will continue to honor that and not make any further comments."

Daily News executive sports editor Chuck Bausman reiterated his support for the story on Monday, saying the paper will continue to stand by its reporting.