World Conference Arms Race Heats Upby Brother Lee Love | February 1, 2013, 9:56 AM ET
An already tough World Conference has gotten tougher in the past few weeks, as a hockey arms race has caused a mad scramble for premium talent. Helping to instigate the madness was Philadelphia Fire Ants GM Norm Donovan. After second line centre Joe Pavelski's hot start was put on ice by a serious hernia injury, a move had to be made.
"We were already looking for another centre because we knew we had a lack of depth there," said Donovan, "so when Pavelski went down we accelerated our discussions."
When the Havana Revolution put Mike Fisher on the block, the match was too perfect to pass up. "The two are very similar players in a lot of ways so it was good fit," noted Ants pro scout Tony Hrkac. As discussions began however, another possibility arose.
"For whatever reason Havana was looking at moving Mikka Kiprusoff as well," said Donovan, "and that poor guy has been stuck playing for damn commies for years now, so we thought we'd try and help him out" [Kiprusoff played four seasons in Moscow prior to joining the Revolution, though Donovan seemed unaware that Communism ended in Russia two decades ago].
Acquiring Kiprusoff was not done for entirely altruistic or political reasons, however. "We wanted to make sure none of these other dimwits got their grubby hands on him," admitted Donovan, "goaltending is at a premium this year. I wasn't going to risk some rinky-dink operation like London getting a REAL goalie and challenging my team. Besides, I've never been shy about overkill when it comes to goalies."
After shipping a number of quality prospects to Cuba and sealing the deal, the reaction was immediate. The Admirals also raided Havana's cupboard and acquired a number of players, including former Ants Johan Hedberg and Johnny Boychuk. The Aces were next to join the fray, acquiring Ryan Kesler and Paul Martin from the Stockholm Cougars, and word is the London Monarchs are also looking to make a deal. Given the reaction, are the Ants looking to escalate things even further?
"We're always looking," said Donovan, puffing on a newly acquired Cuban cigar, "the more desperate and cutthroat the trading becomes, the more likely I am to come out on top."