Out of stupidity comes victories.
I think Nietzsche said that. Or maybe it was Toe Blake.
Whichever, the Blackhawks benefited from their stupidity to the point that they just pulled even in their playoff series against the Blues.
The Hawks were bad and stupid at crucial points in the first two games in St. Louis. They had blown leads late in third periods and lost in overtime.
The Blues had suckered them into a physical, edge game that the Hawks took over the edge. That’s not their game. They’re supposed to be smarter than that.
It turned so stupid and bad that they had one of their top defensemen suspended while apparently concussing the Blues’ captain and top center.
But that’s when the stupidity turned into victories.
Brent Seabrook for David Backes is a good trade for the Hawks. It arguably turned the series around because the loss of Backes hurts the Blues more than the loss of Seabrook hurts the Hawks.
Think of it this way: If the Blues had a chance to sacrifice defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to get Jonathan Toews out of the lineup, they’d do it yesterday, if not last week.
And now this is starting to look like the Hawks-Coyotes series when career stooge Raffi Torres lined up Marian Hossa and concussed him into next season. Some people in the Hawks organ-I-zation will tell you that changed the series -- ended it -- because it cost them an offensive force and one of the best two-play players in the league.
In this series, stupidity has helped the Hawks win not only the personnel battle, but also the fight for style of play.
The NHL was so worried about the Hawks and Blues returning to the Chuck Norris Division playoff games that an officiating supervisor was sent to talk to the coaches before Game 3. The coaches were supposed to tell their players to knock off the nonsense -- stop the scrums, the facewashes, the garbage after the whistle. Just play hockey.
Just what the Hawks wanted.
The Hawks win that kind of game. The Hawks win Stanley Cups with that kind of style.
If the game’s going to be called tightly, then the highly skilled and less neanderthal team wins. That’s the Hawks, not the Blues, and that’s the kind of style the Hawks got when they needed something good to happen in the two games in the United Center.
The Hawks didn’t get as fast a pace as they wanted in Game 4, but they were able to skate. The question was whether they wanted to fight to get to the net when they couldn’t get chances off the rush. By the middle of the second period, they showed they would.
Andrew Shaw backhanded a puck out of midair on the power play -- yes, the power play -- to put the Hawks up 1-0, and then Patrick Kane finished off a sweet cross-slot pass by Johnny Oduya to make it 2-0.
It seemed over. The Hawks were dominating the scoring chances, and needed only one goal to win Game 3.
But their ugly pattern of failing to finish periods that marked the games in St. Louis showed up in Chicago as the Blues scored twice in the last 69 seconds of the second period to tie it up.
The Blues continued to attack in the third and took the lead with 7:34 left in regulation when Vladimir Tarasenko snapped off his second goal of the game and fourth in the series.
Now the Hawks had to play desperate the way the Blues did in Games 1 and 2 when the Hawks mixed some bad with stupid to give up late tying goals before losing in overtime.
And look at that: The reshuffled line of Toews, Hossa and Bryan Bickell gave the Hawks a big shift that culminated with Bickell’s redirecting the tying goal with 3:52 remaining.
Overtime beckoned, and it produced some breathless chances. But you know that point I made about the Hawks’ ability to skate without getting beheaded? Nobody made better use of that style than Kane.
Blasting out of his zone with the puck and looking to create an odd-man break, Kane decided to take it himself. Using Kevin Shattenkirk as a screen deep in the left circle, Kane ripped off a spectacular wrister that beat Ryan Miller to the short side for the winner. Raise your hand if you think Kane’s over that knee injury thing.
Kane’s second goal of the game gave the Hawks their second win on home ice. They head back to the St. Louis even. Even better, actually. The series that started with a whole lot of stupid is now just hockey. Serious hockey. The Hawks do serious hockey better than the Blues.