Editor’s Note: This week’s SB Nation theme week is Marvel. For the first of a couple Marvel-themed pieces this week, Alec is going to compare some current Hurricanes players to Marvel characters. Stay tuned for another fun comparison piece coming Friday.
It’s Marvel week at SB Nation, so what better way to dive in than determining which Marvel character some key Hurricanes players would be.
Taking some on-ice characteristics as well as some off-ice ones, this is my best shot at finding some good comparisons in case the Hurricanes ever find themselves facing off with galactic beings.
For the sake of writing about what I know and staying away from what I don’t, this list will stick to the heroes, characterizations and storylines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Be warned as well that there may be some slight spoilers if you aren’t fully caught up on the MCU.
Brock McGinn is Thor
So, this is the obvious one thanks to one of the most beloved Storm Surges of the 2018-19 season. In fact, McGinn’s Thor themed post game celebration recently one a fan-voted bracket of Storm Surges on the Hurricanes’ Twitter.
McGinn even revisited the Thor celebration this season after a win over the Capitals in December, this time with some added effects.
Going beyond just the celebrations, McGinn and Thor both tend to have a flair for the dramatic. McGinn’s most notable moment as a Hurricane obviously came in last year’s playoffs, as he crashed to the net in double overtime to give the Canes a game-seven win over the Capitals.
Mr. Game 7 to Brock McGinn, who had his best game in the National Hockey League. The Carolina Hurricanes have defeated the Washington Capitals in double overtime of game seven. The Canes advance. pic.twitter.com/kAKNFCqojh— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) April 25, 2019
The moment for McGinn was a God-send for the Hurricanes, like he came out of the sky to save the day and send the Hurricanes into the second round. It wasn’t too unlike Thor’s big entrance in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, where he quite literally crashes down from the sky to help change the tides a bit in the Battle of Wakanda.
Jaccob Slavin is Captain America
The similarities here extend quite far. Captain America is a clean-cut, good old boy focused on making the world a better place and giving everyone a chance. Slavin is mostly the same. He’s one of the nicest guys in the NHL and a big-time believer in his faith. He doesn’t use profanity, he’s not a partier. He comes to work and does his job, and he does it as good as anybody.
Slavin, like Captain America, is also an undoubted leader of his respective team. Captain America leads his troops into battle as Slavin leads the Canes’ talented blue line. They even wear the same letter, as Slavin dons the ‘A’ on his jersey as an alternate captain and Captain America wears an ‘A’ on his helmet for, well, America.
While their initial appearance may seem clean and good, both Captain America and Slavin aren’t afraid to get mean and do the dirty work as well. Cap is one of the Avengers’ best fighters, while Slavin is the Canes’ best defensive player. Slavin, like Cap, isn’t afraid to lay the lumber when it’s necessary.
Jaccob Slavin lays out Ovechkin at the blue line. pic.twitter.com/oXsYyJpU8F— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 6, 2019
Slavin is also one of just seven Americans on the Canes’ roster, another great reason he’s Captain America. He’s also one of the core foundational pieces of the Hurricanes roster, much like Captain America is with the Avengers.
Sebastian Aho is Spider-Man
The name of the game for both Aho and Spider-Man is speed, agility and a high level of skill. Aho has used his crazy acceleration paired with fantastic skills to become the Canes’ most dangerous goal-scoring threat, and his dexterity is similar to that of Spider-Man as well. Here’s a good breakdown of Aho’s speed from Sportsnet.
Spider-Man is quick, getting things done before his enemy ever knows what hit them. He’s agile and seems to be able to get from one place to another in no time at all, much like Aho. He’s accurate with his web shooters like Aho is with his shots, and he’s maybe the most exciting and popular Marvel hero, much like Aho is with the Canes.
Beyond that, Aho and Spider-Man both approach their crafts with a youthful, energetic style and they both still have baby faces that make you question how they are possibly doing what they are.
The final comparison between Aho and Spider-Man relates directly to the MCU, where Spider-Man is being molded into the future of the franchise. Aho is the young core player who is the future of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Teuvo Teravainen is Hawkeye
Hawkeye is known for being able to put an arrow pretty much anywhere with ease. He can thread the tightest of gaps with a perfectly placed arrow to take out as many opponents as possible. The same could be said about a Teuvo Teravainen pass.
Teravainen can move the puck anywhere on the ice. He doesn’t have to be looking in that direction. It doesn’t have to be the obvious pass. If a passing lane exists, no matter how small, Teravainen can find it. I mean, just look at this.
I mean, this is just silly. Teuvo Teravainen is something else. pic.twitter.com/Tir7T7AR6H— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 18, 2019
Like Hawkeye, Teravainen is precise and effective. Also like Hawkeye, he’s a fundamental, core piece of his team.
Andrei Svechnikov is Black Widow
Sneakiness and deception is the cornerstone of Black Widow’s talents, and it’s something that Canes’ youngster Andrei Svechnikov has also shown he’s pretty good at. Svechnikov of course scored the first lacrosse goal in NHL history, the ultimate feat of sneakiness and deception in hockey, and then he did it again.
Black Widow is also a vital part of the Avengers’ success, as Svechnikov is for the Canes. She may be overpowered, but she never backs down. Svechnikov may be younger than almost everyone he plays against, but he certainly never backs down. Shared Russian heritage is another similarity between the two.
Justin Williams is Iron Man
These two are the grizzled veterans, the undisputed leaders that have been working at their craft longer than anyone around them. Iron Man was the first to make his MCU appearance, and since has been a fundamental piece of the puzzle. He, along with Captain America, has been the leader of the troops for the entire time.
Likewise, Justin Williams found his success with the Hurricanes before anybody else on the current roster. He was on the 2006 Stanley Cup team, and since returning to the fold has been an unquestioned leader in the locker room.
Williams stepped away from hockey after the 2018-19 season, but returned to the Canes midway through the 2019-20 season. In Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man has stepped away from the superhero gig but makes his way back to lead the troops in action one final time.
While COVID-19 may rob us of seeing what that big final Iron Man moment could have been for Williams, his veteran leadership still makes him the perfect Canes player to be the group’s Iron Man.
Dougie Hamilton is Star Lord
Like Star Lord, Hamilton is a leader by example, using his aggressive play style to produce results and bring excitement to the team. Both Star Lord and Hamilton are late joiners to the party, but both made a big impact after joining the larger group.
Hamilton was brought to the Canes in 2018, while Star Lord and his Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t merge with the rest of the MCU until 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. Both, however, instantly became staples of their respective groups.
Outside of combat/hockey, the two are fairly similar. Both Star Lord and Hamilton are quite charming. Hamilton’s really great friends with a mascot pig. Star Lord hangs out with a raccoon and a tree. Hamilton likes museums. Star Lord has a keen interest in any artifact from the human world.
Petr Mrazek is Hulk
So, Petr Mrazek is fairly average size for an NHL goaltender, but he’s still the Hurricanes’ Hulk. In goalie pads he certainly looks much bigger, but he also has the ability to make himself even bigger than he really is.
Mrazek is a master of the highlight-reel aggressive save, and he’s also pretty good at going ‘beast mode’ and making a flurry of excellent saves in a row. This sequence could have easily been followed up with a loud “HULK SMASH” from the Canes’ netminder.
PETR MRAZEK! He’s a monster and he knows it. He’s hyping himself up after that string of phenomenal saves. He’s feeling it tonight. pic.twitter.com/uwgE1QIHHi— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) February 17, 2019
Nino Niederreiter is Captain Marvel
Sticking solely to the 2018-19 season, Nino Niederreiter played the role of Captain Marvel for the Canes. In the MCU, Captain Marvel doesn’t show up in the current timeline until Avengers: Endgame, but the role she plays is huge. She comes in and helps save the day, providing a much-needed boost for the Thanos-fighting Avengers.
Much like Captain Marvel’s late but impactful entrance, Niederreiter joined the Hurricanes midway through the 2018-19 season and played well beyond his expectations. Niederreiter was a big part of the Canes’ huge second half, providing goals and assists to help save the day and end a lengthy playoff drought.
Rod Brind’Amour is Nick Fury
Like Hurricanes’ head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Nick Fury spends most of his time watching the other guys do the work from the sidelines. He’s the architect and de facto coach of the Avengers, leading the team’s strategy and dealings while leaving the actual fighting to others.
However, that doesn’t mean Brind’Amour or Fury couldn’t get into action themselves if needed. Brind’Amour is in fantastic shape, a gym rat that could still very easily hold his own on the ice. Fury is the same way, tough as nails and a guy that looks like he’s never lost a step.
Fury showed how he could be in the middle of the fight in 2019’s throwback Captain Marvel, much as Brind’Amour did during his playing days with the Canes, but now, both seem to fit their role on the sideline quite well.