There is at least one silver lining should the National Hockey League season be cancelled. Team Canada for the world championship in Vienna in May probably will be run by Wayne Gretzky and the same staff that won the 2002 Olympic gold medal and the 2004 World Cup.
If that's the case, then Pat Quinn of the Maple Leafs will almost certainly be offered the coaching job.
Usually, the world championship doesn't get a lot of notice because it takes place while the NHL playoffs are being staged, and only players from teams eliminated from the playoffs participate.
But this year, if there is no NHL commitment, every nation will send its best possible team.
If that comes to pass, it will be the first time Canada has sent a true top-of-the-line team to Europe since the Summit Series in 1972. And even that one was missing at least one of the dominant stars of the era. Bobby Hull was excluded because he had joined the World Hockey Association.
By the time this year's world championship is held, the 2006 Olympics will be only nine months away, so it would only make sense to send a team that is as similar as possible to the Olympic team. Certainly every other country will do so.
Although no decision has yet been reached on the matter, Gretzky confirmed yesterday that within a week or so of the official cancellation of the NHL season, he hopes to meet with Bob Nicholson, head of the Canadian Hockey Association and his two assistants from the last two major tournaments, Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe.
Gretzky is making no commitment yet for the obvious reason.
"We're all still hoping that the NHL will get an agreement done," he said.
But he did confirm that if the season is scrapped, there will be a meeting although he's not sure when it will be.
"We're trying to find a time when we can all get together," he said.
It stands to reason that if the four are to meet, they'll probably agree to take serve in the same posts they held in the Olympics and the World Cup.
Canada is the defending world champion, and has won the past two titles.