Here at SB Nation, it’s Marvel week, meaning that (obviously) the worlds of the NHL and superheroes will collide.
Today, I present you with a thought exercise: what if the Flyers were the Avengers? Bet you haven’t thought about that one before. In my eyes, there are two ways to understand this question. Either we are casting the Flyers in the roles of the Avengers as actors, or we assume that they have the physical or mental powers of the characters in the movie. For the purpose of this article, while perhaps the former approach may be easier, I think it would be best to take a mixed approach to the question. So, without further ado, here are the newly coined Flyvengers. Also note that I’m only using the Avengers present in the film series, since that’s what I’ve seen, and that I’m not listing every character since there are a lot of them.
Iron Man - Ivan Provorov
Provorov himself can be considered an iron man, as in his four year NHL career he has never missed a single game. He is also equally as dedicated to his training as the titular hero, as he has been skating and working out while isolating near Wilkes Barre. I wouldn’t call Provorov as cocky as Tony Stark, but I think to succeed at the NHL level, you need that bit of self assuredness which would entirely describe Stark’s character.
Captain America - Kevin Hayes
It’s simple really. Hayes is American, and serves as the Flyers’ shield on the penalty kill. Though Hayes defends and prevents goals, like Steve Rogers, he is equally capable of turning that into attack, and is the Flyers’ super soldier. Captain America is also the leader of the avengers, and Hayes came into the locker room, and immediately became a member of the Flyers’ leadership group.
The Hulk - Nic Aube-Kubel
NAK may not be a comparable for the huge, physical specimen that Bruce Banner transforms into, however, he is easily one of the most physical players on the team, and he isn’t afraid to turn hits into punches when he gets angry. Therefore, the Hulk.
Thor - Oskar Lindblom
Tall, blonde, nordic, and as tough as it gets, Lindblom fits the bill. To be honest, he kind of already looks like Thor.
We learned recently that Lindblom is going through his final cancer treatments, and “feels great”, according to an update given by assistant GM Brent Flahr. This is excellent news, and we wish our own Thor the best and for a speedy recovery.
Hawkeye - Shayne Gostisbehere
Though he may not wield a bow and arrows, Gostisbehere attacks on the power play with his very own long range weapon: the so called “Ghost Bomb” from the point. This was essentially the sole reason that the Flyers made the playoffs in 2015-16, and Gostisbehere wields it with devastating accuracy and power.
Dr. Strange - Carter Hart
In the Marvel films, Dr. Strange learned to master both the physical and mental/supernatural side of his unique abilities. Equally, Carter Hart’s mental toughness is well known, and he has been quite public about his use of psychology in game preparations. To match, Hart has shown the ability to make acrobatic, physically difficult saves that other goalies wouldn’t dream of making. See here.
Spiderman - Sean Couturier
Couturier has one of the best hockey senses on the Flyers, just like the titular character’s “spider-sense”. On both offense and defense, Couturier thinks the game on a cerebral level, and in my opinion is in the top five players in the league in that regard. Must I repeat, SEAN COUTURIER FOR SELKE!
Black Panther - Claude Giroux
Though many in the media have challenged his authority and ability to be an effective leader, just like Prince T’Challa (then King) rose above his detractors to prove himself, Claude Giroux has struck down the doubters to prove he is a worthy captain and respected leader. Giroux is also an athletically gifted individual and a skilled tactician and passer, in the same vein as Black Panther’s fighting style.
Ant Man - Travis Konecny
I have to thank Kurt for this one. I’ll just present you what he said earlier in the week on the BSH slack chat.
“My contribution to Marvel week is that Travis Konecny is ant man. A little bit clueless. Has definitely committed unimportant crimes. Would definitely crawl up an opponent’s ass to defeat them. Is small but very powerful. Would accidentally save the universe thanks to a rat.”