If Kevin Finneran sips champagne out of the National Lacrosse League\'s championship trophy for a fifth time at the end of this season, don\'t be surprised if the first-year Toronto Rock forward hangs up his jersey.
Capping his playing career with another title is an ideal scenario for the 13-year NLL veteran.
Finneran will try to take a big step toward that goal tonight when the Rock (10-4) plays host to his former team, the red-hot Philadelphia Wings (7-5), at the Air Canada Centre. With a win in its penultimate game of the season, Toronto would clinch a playoff spot.
\"Everybody wants to go out on top,\" said Finneran, 37, a leader on and off the floor in Toronto. \"(Winning the NLL title) would make (his retirement decision) a lot easier.\"
Though Wings coach Adam Mueller claimed yesterday he is happy with the off-season trade that sent Finneran to Toronto in exchange for defender Drew Candy, the Rock landed a highly skilled, team-first guy.
The Philadelphia resident found a place to live in Toronto for the season and is running his lacrosse marketing/camp business, FinnCrosse, from here.
Also, Finneran played through a hairline fracture of a rib earlier this season and now is battling a torn meniscus in a knee. He has 23 goals and 29 assists this season.
\"(Finneran) gives us the one-on-one threat that we\'ve never had,\" said Rock defender Glenn Clark, who will return from a one-game suspension tonight. \"He\'s been an unbelievable addition to this team.\"
With just one goal in his past two games, Finneran is determined to break out of his slump tonight.
\"This team seems to play best with our backs against the wall,\" Finneran said. \"We didn\'t really have that last week (the Rock lost 13-10 to the Rochester Knighthawks), but when the chips are down, we seem to play well every time.\"
A loss to the Wings, winners of five in a row, puts the Rock in danger of losing its grip on a first-round playoff bye, given to the NLL\'s top two division winners. A Toronto win and another Calgary Roughnecks loss gives the Rock the Northern Division title.
\"This game is very important because (a win) lets us control our own destiny,\" Clark said.