By Charles F. Gardner
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Brian Finley is 23 years old, plenty young by goaltender standards in the American Hockey League.
But forgive the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, native if he already feels a bit older and wiser than his years.
Finley, who began his professional career in 2002-03 with Toledo of the ECHL, has fought injury demons and nagging doubts during his pro career, but he has emerged this season as the No. 1 goaltender for the Milwaukee Admirals, the defending Calder Cup champions.
“He has persevered,” said Nashville Predators assistant general manager Ray Shero. “He’s got 20 wins, and he’s doing what he set out to do.
“I don’t know if he can be a No. 1 NHL (National Hockey League) goaltender, but he has put himself in a position to play in the NHL. He’s back to being a prospect and helping our team win. Who knew when Tomas Vokoun was in Milwaukee if he could be a No. 1?”
Vokoun, who began his professional career in the ECHL with Wheeling, has developed into an all-star goaltender with the Predators, so the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Finley certainly has a chance. That was something he wasn’t sure he would get when he sat out the entire 2001-’02 season due to a difficult groin injury and when he struggled the following season while splitting time with the Admirals and Toledo Storm of the ECHL.