Nicholson: Gretzky can return if he wants

Archive photo. Bob Nicholson, President of Hockey Canada. (Ottawa Sun)

Archive photo. Bob Nicholson, President of Hockey Canada. (Ottawa Sun)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

TURIN -- Team Canada held its own last supper last night. Twenty-four hours after the quarter-final loss to Russia at the Olympics, a dinner was held for management, coaches and players.

But before Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson dined, he chewed on a few items with the media and indicated the following:

- It will be up to Wayne Gretzky to decide if he wants to return as executive director of Team Canada, but, if he doesn't want to stay in his current role, Nicholson would like to keep him involved with Hockey Canada. "Wayne Gretzky means a lot to hockey in Canada," Nicholson said.

- Once the management team for 2010 in Vancouver has been decided in two years, then the future of coach Pat Quinn and assistants Ken Hitchcock and Jacques Martin will be decided. It's doubtful any of them will be back.

- Nicholson defended the decision to put winger Todd Bertuzzi on the team.

- Nicholson has no regrets about Gretzky bringing back the coaching staff that won in 2002 in Salt Lake City and the 2004 World Cup. "We were 2-0 with the top team in both those tournaments, why would we change anything?" Nicholson said.

Nicholson admitted he was disappointed by the club's performance. But he refused to question the selection process used by Gretzky. "This just wasn't our tournament," Nicholson said. "We had a number of players who played in the world championship and they had the legs. We just couldn't seem to get our legs going here."

Canada has a charter leaving late Sunday -- which includes 200 family members -- and hasn't had success in negotiating a new departure time. Players have the option of buying commercial flights home.

"We'd like to keep everybody together and we're going to leave as planned," Nicholson said.

Canadian winger Simon Gagne, who hurt a knee in a collision with Russian defenceman Darius Kasparaitis, went for a second MRI yesterday. The belief is there was no major damage and it was done for precautionary reasons.


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