Joe Finley is a 6-foot-7 defenseman formerly of the University of North Dakota and currently in the Washington Capitals system. Having met him at Caps development camp last week, he's a brawny, straightforward Midwestern guy with a bit of an edge to him.
Example: Finley tripped over a teammate's stick during a scrimmage and tumbled to the ice. The thud it made was audible in the press box located just outside the boards in the corner of the rink. So I asked Finley what it's like for a 6-foot-7 guy to fall to the ice like that, and he said matter-of-factly:
"I don't know, what's it like if I push you over? It probably feels the same, right?"
Luckily for me, the test was never applied.
So Finley's a tough guy ... but as UND campus police discovered early Tuesday morning, no man is strong enough to resist the siren's song of throwing a kitchen table and a lawnmower into the middle of the street. Which is why they said they arrested Finley and a current North Dakota player and charged them with disorderly conduct.
Why Finley decided to give false information to the officers is another story. But really, what does one expect from a man who once assaulted a giant badger?
According to the Grand Forks Herald (sub. required), police claim they saw Finley, 22, and Matt Frattin, 21, "throwing cups, plates, a kitchen table and a lawnmower onto a Grand Forks street" at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday.
UND Police Lt. Dan Lund told the Herald that "it was their own property, so there was nobody's property that was damaged other than their own ... They said they just kind of routinely destroy each other's stuff."
Beavis, meet Butthead.
Then things got really interesting, according to the Herald, as Finley also faces a charge of giving false information to officers:
When first approached by police, Lund said, Finley ran around a house but stopped when officers told him to. Frattin ran into a home, not stopping when instructed to, and was consequently charged with fleeing, Lund said.
Police said Finley showed them a credit card with someone else's name on it. When asked if his name was the one on the card, Finley said it was, Lund said. At the jail Finley gave his real name.
Police said Finley told them somebody else gave him the credit card. Lund said police think the credit card belongs to a friend of Finley, but the matter is still under investigation.
All of the charges are misdemeanors. For the record, the words "alcohol," "booze," "drunk" or the term "under the influence" are nowhere to be found in the article.
Our brilliant live blog guru Matt Sussman covered this story on Blog Critics today, and offered these thoughts:
Now, I've never attended UND, so I can't speak for what they teach the children up there, but I'd like to hope that "kitchen furniture stays indoors" would be paramount in the curriculum, seeing as how supping outdoors in freaking North Dakota might cause hypothermia.
Finley's not a total knucklehead: He stayed in school to earn a business management degree, and he's worked hard to meet the expectations his large frame as a player have placed on him, including an attempt to move to forward this summer. But the former first-round pick by the Caps has added another wonderfully strange chapter to his hockey fable, which also includes an attack on a mascot.
Back in 2007, North Dakota and Wisconsin had a typically nasty series on the ice that resulted in Finley getting caught on video tape slashing the leg of UW-Madison mascot Bucky Badger.
Finley recalled the incident earlier this month to Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post:
"It was pretty serious," Finley said. "The only reason I took exception to the mascot was he was 'sieving' the goalie right in his face. ...the next day we were passing [each other] and he shouldered the goalie in warmups. So I looped around and gave him a tap. That's about it."
Well, that's not exactly it. Finley actually had to write a letter of apology to the student in the suit for the incident. So I asked him: What on Earth does a player write in an apology letter to a badger? Finley replied:
"You know what ... we had a couple jokes about that. But I think the biggest thing is that you can't tell him that you didn't mean to do it, because you did whack him. I wish I could put it better, but for lack of a better term [I wrote] 'Just stay away form my goaltender.'"
Could have been worse: Bucky could have ended up in the middle of the street at 3 a.m. next to a lawn mower.