On Apr. 26, Avengers: Endgame will hit theatres across the world and conclude an action-packed, 22-film epic. No one is quite sure how Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the rest of the Avengers will rebound after the heartbreaking events of last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, but the blockbuster will offer some sort of resolution.
Over the past 11 years, we’ve seen dozens of characters develop in front of our eyes, starting with Iron Man in 2008 and, most recently, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel.
All of these superheroes have unique personalities. Captain America has his do-what-it-takes leadership and Rocket Raccoon brings a high amount of sass to the table, along with a growing acceptance of being part of a team.
To celebrate the end of a truly special era, let’s take a look at 24 characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and identify their NHL equivalents.
Tony Stark/Iron Man: Sidney Crosby
No longer egotistical, Sidney Crosby does whatever it takes to help the Pittsburgh Penguins win. Crosby also possesses an arsenal of weapons rivaling that of Iron Man: Elite vision, an otherworldly backhander, supreme skating, and precision passing, just to name a few.
Steve Rogers/Captain America: T.J. Oshie
Let’s be honest here – the always-dependable T.J. Oshie locked down the role of Captain America after his masterful performance against Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Thor: Victor Hedman
If Thor is the God of Thunder, then Victor Hedman is the God of Thunderous Hits for the Tampa Bay Lightning. In addition, Hedman’s electric shot from the point often looks like it was delivered from Thor’s Stormbreaker.
Bruce Banner/Hulk: Dustin Byfuglien
Opposing player: *Agitates Dustin Byfuglien*
Byfuglien: “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
Opposing player: *Continues to frustrate Byfuglien*
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow: Artemi Panarin
Natasha Romanoff was a Russian-trained assassin who later joined the “good guys” as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Artemi Panarin was a Russian-trained assassin who later joined the “good guys” when he left the KHL and signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Clint Barton/Hawkeye: Phil Kessel
A true sniper, Phil Kessel doesn’t get a whole lot of respect despite being a key cog in Pittsburgh’s two Stanley Cup runs. Ditto for Hawkeye, who’s been an integral part of the Avengers, but doesn’t get the same fanfare as Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. Nonetheless, Kessel goes about his business, streaking down the the right wing and ringing shots in off the far post with Hawkeye-like accuracy.
James Rhodes/War Machine: Evgeni Malkin
As the high-flying War Machine to Crosby’s Iron Man, Evgeni Malkin is always there to fight alongside his captain. The two have a close relationship after winning three Stanley Cups together, just like James Rhodes and Tony Stark do.
Sam Wilson/Falcon: Evgeny Kuznetsov
I mean, come on:
Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier: Alex Ovechkin
Russian-trained and always willing to strong-arm his enemies, Alex Ovechkin is the perfect fit to fight alongside Oshie’s Captain America as the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes. That, and also the fact that Ovechkin and the NHL’s Iron Man don’t get along.
Vision: Erik Karlsson
Powerful, intelligent, and capable of effortless flight, Erik Karlsson is the NHL’s Vision. But like the the Marvel character, invincibility, however, escaped the less-than-100-percent Karlsson, who has frequently looked mortal during his first-round matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights, just as Vision did during Avengers: Infinity War.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch: Joe Pavelski
Crazy good hands and close with Karlsson, Joe Pavelski has certainly scored some witchcraft-looking deflection goals in recent years. Plus, if Joe Thornton had some wheels, he’d make an excellent Quicksilver alongside Pavelski with his greying hair and beard.
Peter Quill/Star-Lord: Matthew Tkachuk
Son of a god? Check. Elite agitator? Check. Runs his mouth a little too much? You bet.
Groot: Zdeno Chara
Who has a longer reach, Groot or 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara? The towering blueliner for the Boston Bruins may be older and know a few more words than Marvel’s favorite tree, but Groot would certainly give him a run for his money in the defensive zone.
Rocket Raccoon: Brad Marchand
Not only do Rocket and fellow rodent Brad Marchand have a similar snout structure, the two also underwent a recent transformation to expel their egotistical, trash-talking ways and become better teammates. Plus, they also make excellent partners-in-crime with Chara/Groot.
Drax the Destroyer: Brent Burns
With an infectious personality and brute strength, Brent Burns would make the perfect NHL version of Drax. Similarly, he’s known for being invisible at times on the ice – something Drax has clearly mastered.
Nebula: Tom Wilson
Much like Nebula’s character arc, Tom Wilson started out as one of the premier “bad guys” in the NHL, but has been working to right his wrongs without completely losing his identity. He was even nominated by the Washington Capitals for the this season’s King Clancy Award for his humanitarian efforts.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man: Marc-Andre Fleury
Ant-Man and Marc-Andre Fleury actually have a lot in common. They’re both goofs, known for robbing people, and can become giants when the team needs them to step up. Also, Fleury and Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd have aged at just about the same pace – basically not at all.
T’Challa/Black Panther: Anze Kopitar
As the soft-spoken ruler of his kingdom, T’Challa leads by example, rather than as a tyrant. The same could be said for Anze Kopitar, who also looks sharp in black, silver, and sometimes purple.
Peter Parker/Spider-Man: Jake Guentzel
As the young, puck-slinging protege to Crosby, Jake Guentzel makes sense as Spider-Man, who has been riding shotgun to Iron Man lately. Would anyone be surprised if Guentzel refers to his captain as “Mr. Crosby,” just as Peter Parker does with “Mr. Stark?”
Doctor Strange: Connor McDavid
A true magician with the puck, Connor McDavid can seemingly appear out of nowhere thanks to his incredible skating. His recent comments on the Edmonton Oilers’ losing ways suggest that he might also be able to see the future – where there’s 14,000,605 potential outcomes for the Oilers franchise and only one is successful.
Benedict Wong: Carey Price
After Doctor Strange was dusted in Avengers: Infinity War, Wong became the protector of the Sanctum Sanctorum, which has as much responsibility as defending the Montreal Canadiens’ net from threats. Plus, Carey Price often looks like he’s wielding Wong’s protective shields when he’s making unbelievable saves and has an affinity for tuna, being Tomas “Tuna” Tatar.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel: Rasmus Dahlin
New on the scene and just beginning to discover his powers, Rasmus Dahlin will soon be a premier talent in the NHL. Similarly, Captain Marvel has started to leave her mark on the MCU and will soon be a leading figure for years to come.
Loki: Pavel Datsyuk
A true trickster with the puck, Pavel Datsyuk also mirrored the God of Mischief with his excessive amount of thievery and deception. Both are out of the picture right now, but could Loki and the Magic Man be on their way back?
Thanos: Another Lockout
I’m sure a few of you expected to see Gritty here. While our favorite googly eyed, chubby Cheeto may incite nightmares, he’s also a fun-loving goof – Gritty isn’t hellbent on reducing the universe’s population by half (to our knowledge).
Instead, Thanos is the personification of a lockout. If he wins, no one wins, and half of the NHL disappears, albeit temporarily.
Marvel Cinematic Universe’s NHL Lineup
When it’s time for coach Nick Fury (John Tortorella) to fill out the lineup card, he has plenty of options given his roster’s immense talent and chemistry. Here’s how the characters could line up for their battle against Thanos’ Outriders and Chitauri troops.
|Doctor Strange/McDavid||Iron Man/Crosby||War Machine/Malkin|
|Winter Soldier/Ovechkin||Falcon/Kuznetsov||Captain America/Oshie|
|Black Widow/Panarin||Black Panther/Kopitar||Hawkeye/Kessel|
Which Avengers: Endgame NHL player comparison is your favorite? Share your thoughts below.
Tony Wolak is based in the Washington D.C. area and covers the Detroit Red Wings for THW. As a former junior and college hockey player, Tony has a unique perspective on Red Wings topics.