Monday, July 5, 2010

RIP Bob Probert, the original Red Wing #24

I love hockey and I especially love the Detroit Red Wings. Back in the "old" days when hockey let guys fight a little more Bob Probert was the main enforcer for the team. He would always take on the bad guy from the other team and never backed down from a fight. Well, don't take my word for it, here is a little montage. There are plenty more at the site if this isn't enough. Sad news to hear of his death at the relative young age of 45. He lived hard and played hard.


Anonymous said...

I certainly won't condone Bob's off-ice behavior back in the 80s and 90s, but I always thought his type had a place in the game. You have all these rules now for checking from behind, diving, knee-on-knee hits, etc. You didn't need rules like that in 1988. If you broke a written rule -- or, more importantly, an unwritten one -- you were going to pay. You didn't check Steve Yzerman from behind, because you knew Probert or Kocur -- or, if warranted, both -- would be hopping over the boards in short order in an attempt to put you in the emergency room. Oftentimes, they succeeded.

Now, that type of player is gone because the NHL doesn't want them around. And there are more serious injuries due to cheap shots than ever before.

There was a purpose to what these guys did. Bob, Kocur, Domi, Grimson, Tiger Williams before these guys . . . they maintained honor in the game.

RIP Bob. :(

Jim of L-Town said...

Very good reflections Mr./Ms. Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I know adults are responsible for their own actions, but I can't help but feel that the Red Wings organization made so much money off ticket sales to people wanting to watch Probie's "enforcement" techniques that they looked the other way on the alcohol and drug stuff.

Anonymous said...

I don't think "looked the other way" was the problem, though I agree the team handled the Probert situation poorly. To the contrary, I thought the team worried too much about Bob. The Wings assigned staffers to keep an extra eye on him, the general manager accompanied him to AA meetings, they got him into drug-counseling programs (aside from those assigned to him by the NHL and various legal authorities) and they suspended him on a few occasions (again, separate from NHL suspensions and court sentences). If anything, the Wings spent too much time trying to save Bob from himself, and probably should've given up on him 4-6 years before they finally did. The end result was way too many embarrassing episodes for both individual and team, the firing of a coach (Jacques Demers), and the "kicking upstairs" of the aforementioned general manager (Jimmy Devellano).

As I wrote here earlier, I thought guys like Probert were good for the game. But in his specific case, he ultimately did more harm than good for the franchise due to his off-ice problems.

Ordinary Man said...

A misunderstood player. The fact is he was a quality player, just that he was even better with his fists. For me he was rock and roll on skates, the good and the bad. It is nice to see that good prevailed in the end. One of the first NHL hockey videos I bought (non-existent this side of the atlantic in the 80's) was a not too good copy of the 'Bruise Brothers'..still got it. On my first trip to Canada the first thing I bought was Probies Wings away jersey. His family especially his children and Steve Yzerman id the man proud at his funeral. Sadly missed. R.I.P. #24.