No war of words

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

A war of words could have been in the making but Ken King didn't want to unload either barrel.

The Calgary Flames president, no slouch when it comes to a battle of wits, declined to return any volleys on Toronto Sun columnist Al Strachan in light of the article penned in yesterday's edition.

Strachan called the Flames and Edmonton Oilers "whiners" and intimated the ownership groups for both clubs are prolonging the lockout with their agenda to the detriment of big-market teams.

King, though, was reluctant to respond.

"Although it is nearly irresistible to challenge the Central Canadian view, I will not dignify the comments with a response," King said, chuckling.

Perhaps King was practising for tonight's fundraising roast at the Saddledome in which he'll be personally taken to task.

STARTING OVER: Wayne Gretzky saw firsthand how far apart NHL players and owners are from the end of the lockout.

And when the sides get back to the bargaining table, either tomorrow or Friday, they will be beginning anew.

"It seems like they're starting at square one," Gretzky said yesterday.

Gretzky and fellow hockey legend Mario Lemieux took part in the last negotiation session on Feb. 19, a meeting that failed to save the season.

"I hope we can get on some sort of same page or some sort of talking terms where they say 'OK, we're inching our way ahead here, let's meet again next Monday,' " Gretzky said. "If you expect these guys to come out with a deal tomorrow, that's not going to happen. I hope it does but it's going to be tough."


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