The so-called Hockey Gods have been accused of many things during the lifetime of the sport, but smiling has seldom been anywhere near the top of the list.
So it is again that NHL camps are opening and the gods seem to be looking down with distain at a handful of players who are coming off "down" seasons, long-term injuries or comeback attempts. One could argue an even more powerful force, the money gods, also have a hand in things at this time of year, putting the touch on players who seemingly still have more to give but because of their contracts or lack of same, find their careers in peril.
Here's a list of those who have come to camp this week hoping, in some cases against hope, for another opportunity to find themselves worthy of a smile from the Powers That Be.
Now, Finger is better than his critics would have you believe. He's rugged in his own zone and has size and a willingness to use it. He had 24 points last season for Colorado. For an eighth-round pick who worked his way up from nowhere, that's very good. The problem is that he's now in Toronto where expectations are always a multiple of 20 in regards to overall talent. Had he signed in Nashville, Phoenix or with any of a half a dozen teams that need a decent, hard-working journeyman with an upside, no one would have noticed. In some markets, he would be praised as a decent acquisition albeit a little pricey. But no, he had to go to Toronto where they run even decent-to-great defensemen out of town just for sport.
The gods weren't just cruel to Finger, they were sadistic.
And lest we forget...