NHL: With NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman saying that he
     hopes a bid for the Oilers comes "by Friday," Owner Peter
     Pocklington is "skeptical" that a local group will produce
     an offer.  Pocklington: "I'm not sure the locals want to
     sign on the dotted line.  The scrutiny you undergo (by the
     league) nowadays because of the money involved is pretty
     rigorous" (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/4)....In
     Philadelphia, Timothy Dwyer writes that Flyers Chair Ed
     Snider's contention that his team can't afford Eric Lindros
     "means he is either going to let Lindros go when he becomes
     a free agent ... or he is banking on holding the owners
     together in a coalition that is solidly against raiding one
     another's rosters."  Dwyer: "That stinks of collusion.  If
     Snider can't afford Lindros, then it is time to get Comcast
     involved. ... Comcast, after all, owns two-thirds of the
     Flyers and surely ... recognizes a good programming
     commodity when it sees one" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/4).
          NOTES: The Steelers ended a 64-year tradition by
     announcing that practices leading up to Sunday's home game
     against the Broncos would be closed to the media (USA TODAY,
     12/4)....In Providence, Sean McAdam wrote that in their
     contract talks with Mo Vaughn, the Red Sox "reportedly are
     insisting on a degree of control over Vaughn's community
     work in Boston, with the opportunity to direct him toward
     certain charities and events" (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 12/3).

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