Throughout the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, certain magic objects appear which each contained one of the six Infinity Stones. What are Infinity Stones? Let’s let Academy Award winner Benicio del Toro explain:
By Avengers: Infinity War, a character named Thanos has begun collecting these stones, with the goal of being able to manipulate any aspect of the universe to his wishes - and ultimately wipe out half of the population.
To tie this to the NHL, no GM is as evil as Thanos (but some owners may be. Looking at you, Eugene Melnyk) but each is trying to collect certain types of players with the goal of building a Stanley Cup-winning roster. Each stone can represent a type of player which can be critical to team success.
Note: I have not read the comics, so my knowledge of the stones comes only from the MCU. To watch any of these films, sign up for the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle here. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.
First we’ll start with an obvious one: the Power Stone. This stone can destroy an entire planet. Even as hockey has grown more fast and skilled, there is still no substitute for physicality. Just ask the Josh Anderson-shaped bruise left on the Tampa Bay Lightning last spring:
Next, the Mind Stone. It can be used to control minds and read thoughts, and also to enhance the mental capacity of those who wield it. I’ll say this stone relates to hockey IQ. Not just the players who are educated, but the players who can think one step ahead of their opponents. Those who can see the game in different ways. The mind stone resided in the head of the character who was literally named Vision. The perfect example of this trait is the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky. It was his sense for the game that benefited him more than physical traits alone, as he accumulated more assists than any other player has in total points.
The Time Stone can send you back and forth through time. It can also stall time. Veteran experience is critical to guide a locker room through a deep playoff run. There are players this season who appear to be immune to the ravages of time. Joe Thornton had 51 points last year at age 39. Defensemen Ron Hainsey (39) and Zdeno Chara (43) each were averaging over 20 minutes per game this season. Chara still towers over his competition (literally).
The Space Stone can transport you across the galaxy in the blink of an eye. The ability to cover ground quickly is as important in hockey today as ever. Connor McDavid has won the Fastest Skater competition three times, and may well be the fastest I’ve had the fortune to see in person. You can blink and it seems as though he’s covered 2⁄3 the length of the ice.
The Reality Stone can warp the laws of physics. The elite playmakers do things with the puck that make you think “how is that possible?”
Finally, there’s the Soul Stone. What we see of this stone in the films is that it requires a great sacrifice to obtain it. In hockey parlance, these are the gritty glue guys that put their bodies on the line in every shift. Throw hits, take hits, block shots - whatever it takes. There’s no finer example of this than Matt Calvert in 2016. He made a huge sacrifice, then earned a great reward in the end.
As you can see, the Columbus Blue Jackets have possessed most of these at one time, but have they ever had all at once? What will it take get that?
Are there any hockey “stones” that I missed?