This week is Marvel Week here at SB Nation and if you haven’t I would highly recommend checking out the collection of all the SB Nation Marvel posts. It’s a great opportunity to see how blogs for other teams and sports craft posts around a central theme.
While reviewing the posts I stumbled upon one from the Philadelphia Union page Brotherly Game here and it got me thinking which powers would be the best for a hockey player. While I can think of a few powers that hockey players would love to have, increased speed, strength, hyper-awareness, etc. there is one power that would absolutely break hockey. That power is intangibility.
For those unfamiliar with Vision, the Martian Manhunter, or Lemillion from My Hero Academy, intangibility is the power that allows the user to alter their density to pass through solid objects including people and walls. Sometimes the object they pass through explodes, but that isn’t always necessary.
Because a player still needs to skate and handle their stick, intangibility will have to be only over select portions of their body. So while you will be able to pass through a player’s body and head, you can’t pass through their feet, their hands, their skates, or their stick.
A player with intangibility wouldn’t need to be the fastest, and certainly not the strongest, because they would never be able to be hit. They would be able to skate right up the ice, and any opposing player would pass right through them. The saying “take the hit and make the play” would no longer apply, players would be able to make the play without taking the hit.
A lot of modern hockey is about trying to get it as close to intangible players as possible. More open ice and allowing the players to freely is the reason many fans want bigger ice and love 3-on-3 overtime.
There would be some ways to defend an intangible player, although most would be considered penalties. Because the skates, stick, and hands are still necessarily tangible you could still trip or slash our super-powered skater. If you were especially good you could still steal the puck, and of course, you could still block shots.
The closest you may come to a player with intangibility is probably Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky was extremely hard to hit, and not just because of Marty McSorley. The only reason most people are aware of Bill McCreary Jr. is that he is one of the few people who managed an open ice hit on Gretzky, a fact that takes up a significant part of his Wikipedia page.
So would players with this power make hockey more interesting to watch or less? It would certainly be novel, and you would see some crazy plays. If you are a fan of the physical aspects of hockey like big hits or fights though the sport would be completely unrecognizable in a way you likely won’t enjoy.
Of course, this is hockey, so it will have all the fun sucked out of it almost immediately. Defense would become more conservative, players would hang back to block shots limit the shots that get to the net.
Earlier this week I attempted to draft the ideal hero hockey starting lineup and I completely overlooked Vision. That was a mistake, and upon further inspection, he would be the ideal player.