Closet student

MIKE ZEISBERGER

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

Back in the day at Providence College, Brian Burke came out of the closet. Literally.

For more than a month, Burke and teammate Ron Wilson, now the coach of the Maple Leafs, were roommates. Every night at 11 p.m., coach Lou Lamoriello -- yes, THAT Lou Lamoriello -- would conduct a bed check.

"After that, Brian would go study in the closet," he said. "He had a little light in there and he would put towels under the door (so the light would not shine out). Brian would stay up all the time reading."

Wilson always expected big things from Burke.

"I always thought Burkie would run for president," Wilson said. "He was president of the Friars Club ... he was a real organizer."

SAY WHAT

Wilson took exception when informed by a reporter that Don Cherry, in Edmonton for an event, said yesterday the hiring of Burke pretty much was a done deal.

"How would I know? How would he know? He hasn't talked to him. I haven't talked to him. It's all needless speculation. You are just throwing bait out there hoping to catch a big tuna."

AND ANOTHER THING ...

It is well documented that the Oilers brass do not get along with Burke. That did not stop Hall of Fame reporter Jim Matheson from asking Oilers coach Craig MacTavish for his feelings on Burke's resignation.

"Nice try," MacTavish quipped. "Did the turnip truck just drive by?"

RUTHERFORD REJECTION

According to TSN, Carolina Hurricanes' general manager Jim Rutherford was formally offered the dual position as president and GM of the Leafs in August of 2007, at which time John Ferguson Jr. was still in place as the GM of the team. Rutherford reportedly rejected it after a number of face-to-face meetings with the Leaf brass. Neither Rutherford nor MLSEL president Richard Peddie would comment on the report.

MITCHELL UPDATE

According to Wilson, forward John Mitchell might be OK to play tomorrow in Vancouver.


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