"Leafs, eh...just like I always dreamed..."

First off, let’s get this out of the way: I know. I know about your hilarious comment about how the lockout isn’t going to end anyway so it doesn’t matter. …I know.

But for the rest of us who aren’t “glass half empty and this beer was too expensive and the rest of the beer is getting warm“-level pessimists about the lockout, there’s a real possibility worth talking about: once the rosters are finalized for the World Junior tournament, no changes can be made, including additions. So if the lockout ends part way through…hmm.

I’ll let “PuckStopsHere” of the always-informative Kukla’s Korner explain it:

[...]In event of injury, teams sometimes have to compete shorthanded.  With 22 man rosters, it is rare that there are enough injuries that this becomes a problem.  However this year there is a potential problem.  If the NHL season begins during the tournament (or more likely training camp), there are five or six players who would be called up from the junior squad to their NHL training camp.  That would leave Canada seriously shorthanded.  Does that make it too big a risk to take to play all the best NHL calibre junior players on the Canadian World Junior Team?

My personal thoughts echo those of Brian Burke, who would be willing to be flexible:

And, it shouldn’t.

The point of training camp, for the most part, is to get back into shape, get back into a rhythm, get back to hockey. Rielly, as with other potential WJCers would already be doing that. As much as it’s less than ideal to not have them in camp immediately to begin working with them, you have to be reasonable sometimes.

If there’s no new CBA in the next couple days, there should be no doubt: Canada, the US, and everyone involved should take their best available players.