Team Canada's brain trust wanted more time to evaluate its Olympic men's hockey talent but says it can handle the Dec. 22 roster deadline announced Thursday for the Turin Games. The date is just seven days later than the deadline four years ago for Salt Lake City. ''We would have liked to have had as long as possible and we explained that to the NHL, NHLPA and IIHF,'' Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson said from Vilamoura, Portugal, where the Olympic meeting took place. ''We wanted Jan. 1 as the deadline instead but we can live with Dec. 22.'' Executive director Wayne Gretzky had campaigned for a January deadline, saying he wanted as long as possible to see which players were hot. Four years ago, players like Joe Thornton and Todd Bertuzzi caught fire after the deadline and had to be left at home. ''I can't lie, we did want it later,'' Gretzky told The Score in Phoenix. ''We wished as a group that we had more time to watch the players play more games. We're caught in a real precarious position in that most of the teams in the Olympic tournament would be thrilled to name their team in November because let's be honest, we have more players and tougher decisions than any other country.