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Finley Heads Back To School

Joe Finley, the Capitals' second towering first-round pick from the 2005 Entry Draft, has decided not to sign with the Caps and instead will return to the University of North Dakota next fall. The lure of a paycheck and Hershey, PA apparently didn't dissuade the big blueliner, who has but one thing on his hockey mind right now:

"Quite frankly, I came to North Dakota to win a national championship," Finley said. "I don't want to make it sound like it's going to be an easy road, but with the type of guys we have staying, it's going to give us a great opportunity to achieve things we set out to do."


Last week, Finley went to Hershey, Pa., to visit the American Hockey League affiliate of the Washington Capitals, the team that selected him in the first round of the 2005 draft. He said it was a good experience, but upon returning to Grand Forks, the 6-foot-7, 252-pound sophomore informed UND coaches and the Capitals that he decided another year of college is in his best interest.

"There were some guys who left early last season and played in the AHL the whole year," Finley said. "Some guys made the NHL, but they'll still tell you how much they liked playing college. They'll tell you how much fun they had. You get better because you practice quite a bit and the travel schedule isn't so brutal."

"Money isn't the big thing," said Finley, who had a team-best plus-18 rating last season.

What would you do? Go for the dollars and get your pro career started or head back to school for a chance to win a Championship and be the big man on campus (literally)?