August 1st, 2017 at 6:02 PM ^

I remember that shirt as well as a few other good ones that I've seen over the years, among them being a shirt with an image of Probert in one of his finer fights and the caption "What Would Bob Probert Do?". I mean, especially if you went after little Stevie, there was only one thing Probert was going to do....


August 1st, 2017 at 5:50 PM ^

If not for all the PIMs and drugs, he could've been a point a game scorer his first few years.

Made an ASG and even picked up a few votes for the Selke Award in 1991 or 1992.


August 1st, 2017 at 6:47 PM ^

Crowder thought he had claimed the heavyweight title. I remember the anticipation of the rematch the day of the Wings-Devils while in high school. Something that doesn't happen in today's NHL. Crowder caught him a few times but Probie eventually put him in his place. RIP Big Bob. I thought Crowder had also died at an early age in a car accident but I see he's still alive.


August 1st, 2017 at 10:45 PM ^

Man, that was an EVENT.  As you said, the talk of the town for several days beforehand - then the actual fight.  Crowder had backed up his regular-season opener win over Probert with a whole bunch of other impressive wins before the re-match.  Most impressive was totally mauling Craig Coxe, who had TWO "in the discussion for all-time best NHL fight ever" battles with Probert in prior years.  Crowder wasn't just Buster Douglas, he was Douglas beating Tyson then validating it with 8 more wins over other heavyweight contenders.

The fight lived up to the pre-game hype.  Crowder had a slight edge early, but Probert rallied and wins by TKO.  Decisive victory.

It tends to be forgotten they faught a second time later that same night.  Mostly even fight with Crowder landing the biggest punch of the fight (clean shot right on the nose toward the end).  Hell of a jaw on Probert, and Probert was rallying late.  Call it a draw.

Probert was definitely the NHL's best fighter in that era.  But Crowder deserves credit for being a worthy challenger.  Entertaining times.

Everyone Murders

August 1st, 2017 at 6:28 PM ^

The Tie Domi fights were my favorites, and any fight with McSorley.  Probert would usually get the best of Domi, but Domi was a tough fireplug of a man and cocky as all get-out - kind of a Jake LaMotta "you never knocked me down, Ray" attitude.

Of course, the fact that Probert's autopsy revealed severe CTE took some of the shine off of those memories.  (No doubt the checking and hits had something to do with the CTE, too.  But still - it's hard watching his head get pounded knowing how the story ends.)

I'll say this - an opposing team thought twice before cheapshotting Yzerman, etc., when the Wings had Probert and Kocur on hand.


August 1st, 2017 at 8:54 PM ^

I used to cover an occasional Red Wings game when Kocur was the primary enforcer. He was one of the better interviews. Often you can't find a nicer guy in professional sports than a hockey enforcer - they're really happy to talk strategy and hockey in general.

I remember one time he told me, not reluctantly, not happily, that he wasn't fighting that week because of his knuckles. Later in his career, it had to be constant pain. But just part of the game for the enforcers. The CTE, though... you accept you're going to have issues with arthritis later in life, but not that.


August 2nd, 2017 at 7:42 AM ^

I can give eyewitness confirmation on Joey's knuckles. I used to see Joey sometimes after the games and you didn't even want to shake hands with him.  #1 just out of pity for the guy because you knew he didn't want to grasp anything he didn't absolutley have to (though he absolutely would do it if he could, because he was such a gentleman).  And #2 because his hands were often so downright nasty you didn't want to touch them yourself.  They at times looked like festering globs of diseased meat.  Really never seen anything else like that in my life.


Benoit Balls

August 1st, 2017 at 7:28 PM ^

and I wore that sucker out. My favorite Probert fight memory was one where someone went after Yzerman and they were tied up together down on the ice. The scrum lasted a couple minutes and you could see Probert circling, trying to get to Yzermans assailant, but the refs were keeping him at bay. Eventually they were all involved trying to pull guys out of the pile and Probert skated in and dropped down on one knee. Yzermans attacker was on all fours and Probert unleashed a single right hand. Next thing you saw was the guys knees go out from underneath him, he was out cold from one punch. Might've been Craig Coxe, but Im not certain


August 1st, 2017 at 8:17 PM ^

I'm not much of a hockey fan, but I remember this dude was arrested when he tried to smuggle a bag of cocaine across the Canadian border in his underwear. He was expelled from the NHL, but he was reinstated and he rejoined the Red Wings the following season. Because he was Canadian and never became a US citizen, the feds tried to deport him to Canada, but he was allowed to stay while his appeal was pending. That meant that he couldn't leave the country until his case was resolved because he wouldn't be let back in, so awkwardly enough, he couldn't travel with the team to their road games in Canada while his case was pending.  


August 1st, 2017 at 9:31 PM ^

I read one of those end of the year top 10 lists on USA today one year, about sports.  The guy you least wanted to fight when he was mad?  Bob...  The guy you least wanted to fight when he wasn't mad?  Probie again.  

Yes, that was classic Bob Probert!


August 1st, 2017 at 9:47 PM ^

It was the worst of times
( for Probert's opponents that is )

Great memories of that time period,
Thanks for posting.

I remember meeting Stu Grimson when he played with my cousin for Calgary's IHL Team The Salt Lake City Golden Eagles in the late 80s.


August 1st, 2017 at 9:54 PM ^

I got a Probie jersey from my wife 26 years ago as a wedding present. There were few players I ever liked more than Probie (especially with Mickey Redmond calling his fights) but UM and Dexter's own Chris Tamer had his number once...



August 2nd, 2017 at 10:42 AM ^

was definitely one of the toughest guys to ever lace them up. His first NHL fight with Coxe was a war.  I remember that Scott Parker fight. Parker was a kid trying to make a name for himself. When I saw he dropped them with Probert I was like wow kid you just bit off more then you could choose. He ended up with a concussion from that fight and missed a few weeks after that.


August 2nd, 2017 at 10:55 AM ^

Probert was on the tail-end of his career at that point, but he was still extremely tough.

He gave Parker a rather chilling look at the start ----- "OK kid, you wanted this fight, not me.  But I'm going to finish it.  You just made a mistake and I'm going to humble you for your mistake."


August 2nd, 2017 at 12:53 PM ^

He fought Ewen 6 times and went 4-1-1 against him.  

Few had a winning record vs Probert.  Probert was 5-4 against Brashear who might have come the closest.  Twist probably went 2-1-2 against him, but none of the fights were decisive at all.


August 2nd, 2017 at 12:49 PM ^

Here's the thing with Probert stictly asw a fighter.  He won so many of the big marque fights, way more than any other heavy in history.  If you watched him in the 90s and early 90s, you saw him take on and defeat nearly every other top fighter of those eras.  And he beat guys from several different eras too.  Everyone who follows hockey fighting has a top 10 list.  Well chances are that Probert fought and beat most of anyone's top 10 list.

The mid 80s best fighters like Nylund, Semenko, McGill, Clark, Fraser, Hunter and Plett were all vanquished in marquee fights.  He fought and beat Dave Brown cleanly, beat Marty McSorely, Shane Churla, Todd Ewen, Kimble, Crodwer, and Stu Grimson, all guys who were considered some of the top guys around Probert's age.  Then even when he got older, Probert took on all the young studs.  Beat a young Tony Twist, TKOed a young Scott Parker.  Beat a young Georges Laraque, Matt Johnson, Eric Cairns, Wade Belak and Donald Brashear.  He fought the best from 3 different eras of hockey.  And even when he was way past his prime and was losing more often he still took on all the new super heavyweights while often being outweighed by 20+ pounds.  And he'd even give minor league legends like Mario Roberge and Mad Mel Anglestad a shot at him.

Nobody fought the number of top fighters from so many different eras.  And when Probert was in his prime, nobody in the history of the game was as good at fighting as he was.  He was a monster and his toughness affected the game in so many ways.