Burke's rings of fire

GARY LOEWEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

So, general manager Brian Burke is going to carry the Olympic torch on Saturday in Toronto.

Fine, go ahead.

Itll be an easier task than lighting a fire under his U.S. hockey team at the Vancouver Games.

Yknow, really, the Americans are just playing for the silver.

A jolly bedfellow

Tiger Woods has been named athlete of the decade by the Associated Press.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: Golfers are not athletes, so should not be eligible for this prize.

But its not just his skill on the golf course that earned Woods the award, its the way he has honed his craft as a champion bed racer.

Balking at Buffalo

Tomorrow night, the Maple Leafs play in Buffalo apparently not one of coach Ron Wilsons favourite destinations.

But perhaps the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce and Sabres fans will roll out of the red carpet in the wake of Wilsons comments to the Suns Terry Koshan last weekend.

Buffalo can be a little depressing, Wilson said, pointing out that the Leafs prefer to travel there on the day of the game, rather than the night before.

You can only eat so many chicken wings.

Hate to see the coach land in the hot sauce.

Dirty 30

The Leafs seem to be getting wiser and, inevitably, older. Jeff Finger tomorrow becomes the Leafs seventh 30-something, two weeks after Niklas Hagman hit 30.

Finger was coy when the Suns Lance Hornby asked him about hitting the three-decade milestone.

I dont know if youd call 22 significant, the defenceman said.

Soccer sleeper

Heading to the World Cup in South Africa next year?

You might want to pack a tent.

An outfit in Durban (cheapdurban2010.com) is offering camp sites, at about $35 a night, on several school campuses. There are bathrooms, beer rooms, running water and big-screen TVs showing the games. So were told.

The campgrounds are seven kilometres from the stadium where seven World Cup games will be played.

Theyre also close to sandy beaches ... yknow, for those soccer fans who appreciate diving.

Fat chance

Thomas Greilinger, a 28-year-old left winger, is the leading scorer in the German elite hockey league with 42 points in 28 games, Bill Meltzer of nhl.com reports.

A couple of years ago, the five-foot-10 Greilinger was out of shape and out of hockey, his weight ballooning to 286 pounds.

Now, 71 pounds lighter, and a candidate for the Olympic team, Greilinger has turned his life around faster than you can say Valerie Bertinelli.

Say what?

Ive seen him go from a raw, very athletic, likable 18-year-old to a guy thats played and had a great career, Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona said about the teams new free-agent acquisition, Mike Cameron.

So, hes no longer raw or 18 years old ... but does it also mean he is no longer very athletic or likable?

gary.loewen@sunmedia.ca


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