Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
I want me an enforcer! Those Cheap Bastards select:
Bob Probert, LW, Red Wings
Bob Probert (born June 5, 1965 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey forward. Probert played for the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. While a talented player in his own right, Probert will always be known for being one of the greatest hockey fighters ever to play the game. Probert was also known for his on (and off)-ice antics, as well as being one half of the "Bruise Brothers" with then-Red Wing teammate Joe Kocur, during the late 80s and early 90s.
Playing career in Detroit
Probert was drafted as the 4th pick in the third round (46th overall) in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, in which the Red Wings also selected Kocur and the recently retired captain Steve Yzerman. Prior to playing with the Detroit Red Wings, Probert was with the Brantford Alexanders of the Ontario Hockey League. After being drafted, he spent one more season with the Alexanders before spending his 1984-85 season with both the Hamilton Steelhawks and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL.
The 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons saw Probert spending the majority of his time with the Red Wings, while occasionally playing for their minor league affiliate at the time, the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League. While he wasn't the most prolific pointmaker in the 1985-86 season, he finished third on the team in penalty minutes, behind Kocur and Randy Ladouceur, both of whom played more regular season games than Probert. In the 1986-87 season, Probert accumulated only 24 points, but amassed 221 penalty minutes.
The 1987-88 season saw Probert not only develop upon his fighting abilities, with an astonishing 398 penalty minutes, but it also found him tying for third on his team in points with 62 (Petr Klima also had 62 points). That season, he played in his first (and only) NHL All-Star Game, and he contributed the most points during the Red Wings playoff run, in which Yzerman went out early with a knee injury.
However, in 1989, while crossing the Detroit-Windsor border, Probert was arrested for possessing cocaine. He would end up serving 9 months in a federal prison and would end up banned from the NHL. The ban was lifted in 1990. This would be the first of many incidents that made his use of cocaine, and later, his growing alcoholism, very public topics.
Probert will always be remembered as one of the very toughest fighters to ever lace up skates in the NHL. His long list of fights is filled with a substantial number of elites goons
He had two long fights with Craig Coxe of the Vancouver Canucks in the mid-1980s, both of which featured each man pummeling the other with flurries of right hands and Probert getting the edge in each tussle.
He also was involved in two historic battles with Tie Domi of the New York Rangers in the early 1990s. Both fights took place at New York's Madison Square Garden. The first battle saw Domi rip Probert's jersey off and land several powerful left hands, one of which opened up a large cut on Probert's forehead. Probert landed his fair share of punches as well, but Domi's impressive showing prompted him to wrap an imaginary heavyweight championship belt around his waist as he skated to the penalty box.
The much anticipated rematch took place several months later at the Garden. Less than a minute into the game, the two dropped their gloves, and Probert, obviously raging and anxious to engage, started things off with a flurry of right hands to Domi's face and helmet. Domi then got started with his left hand, and the two proceeded to wail away on one another for nealy a full minute. Probert knocked Domi to the ice to end the fracass, and as the two skated to their respective penalty boxes, Red Wings' captain Steve Yzerman could be seen on the Wings' bench mocking Domi with the same fake belt gesture with which Domi had mocked Probert just months before.
Another memorable Probert fight was carried out on February 4, 1994, against Marty McSorley, then of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The fight took place on Probert's home ice, at Joe Louis Arena. The two men, both weighing upwards of 230 pounds, blasted away at one another for nearly 100 full seconds, with Probert landing a few more vicious shots than McSorley. McSorley was cut over his left eye by a Probert right hand bomb midway through the fight—a punch which temporarily knocked Marty to his knees. However, McSorley regained his skates and resumed trading punches with Probert for another 30 to 40 seconds. Both players were exhausted at the end of the fight, yet found enough energy to give one another a manly embrace with a mutual respect for the battle in which they had just been involved, before skating to the penalty boxes.
In his career, Bob "The Bad One" Probert took part in many other classic hockey fights against noted ruffians such as Todd Ewen, Troy Crowder, Donald Brashear, Stu "The Grim Reaper" Grimson, Bob McGill, Dave Semenko, and "Big" Jay Caufield.
Probert is widely regarded as being one of the best fighters in the history of the National Hockey League.
Leaving the Red Wings
When Probert returned to the Red Wings after his incarceration and subsequent ban from the NHL, he temporarily found himself as one the Alternate (or Associate) Captain of the team, along with Gerard Gallant. While his penalty minutes remained high, he averaged 40 points a season. During his last season with the Red Wings, he accumulated merely 17 points for the team.
At this time, Probert was once again finding himself in trouble with the law. On July 15, 1994, Probert suffered minor injuries when he crashed his motorcycle into a car while driving in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan. At the time of the accident, a local newspaper reported Probert's blood-alcohol level was as high as .31, more than three times the legal .10 limit. The accident came just two days after Probert had been pulled over for erratic driving and had been unable to produce his license. At the time of the accident, Probert had been ruled an unrestricted free agent. Given added controversy, Detroit decided not to make another contract offer to Probert. On July 19, 1994, the Red Wings announced that Probert was no longer part of the team. "This is the end," said senior vice-president Jim Devellano. "[In] my 12 years with the organization ... we've never spent more time on one player and his problems than we have on Probert."
Playing career in Chicago
Probert's time with the Blackhawks was not the best of his playing years. His first season with the Blackhawks would be the last that he would accumulate over 40 points within a season. From then, his points and penalty minutes would both begin to decrease. In addition to this, Probert would end up sustaining various injuries during his time with the Blackhawks, most notably a torn rotator cuff injury which would cause him to miss most of the 1997-98 season. One of the more noteworthy occurrences of his career with Chicago is that he scored the final NHL goal at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens on February 13, 1999.
After the 2001-02 season, Probert was placed on waivers by the Blackhawks. Because he was not picked up by another team, he was advised that his role with the Blackhawks would be limited, or even relegated to playing in the minor leagues again. On November 16, 2002, Probert opted to "unofficially" retire so that he could join the Blackhawk's radio broadcasting team. He had finished fourth on the NHL's all-time list with 3,300 penalty minutes.
His stint with the Blackhawks radio team did not last long. In February 2003, it was reported that Probert went back to rehab. During the 2002-03 offseason, Probert formally announced his retirement.
After retiring, Probert continued to have brushes with the law. In 2004, he was arrested for allegedly parking his BMW SUV on the wrong side of the street and entering into an altercation over drugs with bystanders. Several police officers intervened and unsuccessfully tried to wrestle with Probert in an attempt to subdue him. Then Probert was struck in the leg several times with a billy club by a policeman, also to no effect. He was subsequently zapped four different times with a taser gun before he was able to be subdued.
Probert was later acquitted on all charges related to this incident.
**Yeah, I love the fact that my enforcer can fight off several cops and multiple blasts from a taser gun!
Last edited by JCMElway; 08-09-2006 at 01:22 PM..