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Bob Probert passes away at 45

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Fantastic article by Mitch Albom. Apologies if it's been posted already.

Bob Probert's tough story ended far too soon

BY MITCH ALBOM

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

What is a man? Is he the worst he’s ever done? If so, Bob Probert will be remembered for a night he dropped his pants at the Canadian border and a packet of cocaine fell out. He’ll be remembered for handcuffs, for jail, for alcoholism, for wrapping a Monte Carlo around a utility pole, for crashing a motorcycle with his bloodstream laced with substances, and for year after year single-handedly exhausting the patience of the Red Wings’ front office.

What is a man? Is he the best he has ever done? If so, Bob Probert will be remembered for a good heart, a gentle soul, a giant’s body that on skates could do that rarest of combinations, speed, score and wallop. He’ll be remembered for the countless attempts he made at cleaning up instead of giving up, his loyalty to his teammates, his love for his kids, and his sincere desire, each time he said it, to get his life together and live out his days in peace.

What is a man? Bob Probert, the son of a Windsor cop, was the most maddening athlete I have ever covered. Charming. Irresponsible. Repentant. Hard-headed.

And now he’s gone.

Lay down your arms, No. 24.

A character from a video game

“I’ve always thought, ‘I’m Bob. I’m big guy Bob. I don’t need anyone’s help,’” he once told me. It was the kind of bitter honesty that made you want to give him another chance.

He got a lot of them.

Young kids won’t understand our fascination with Probert. They don’t make his kind anymore. But there is a reason you still see people wearing his jersey at Joe Louis Arena, more than 15 years since he last played for Detroit.

Coming up in the 1980s, Bob Probert was the sort of warrior they now model video game characters after. Relentless. Brutal. Single-minded. Unafraid of blood. He was an enforcer, a goon, a guy whose main purpose was to make sure nobody messed with his team’s stars. Someone touched Steve Yzerman? Bob Probert touched back hard. Someone ran the goalie? Probert ran him harder.

His fights are legendary and are no doubt being downloaded at a record clip this morning, after news of his sudden death Monday while boating with his family on Lake St. Clair.

But Probert’s battles on the ice were small compared to the ones he fought within. I remember choking up when he told me about his childhood, the early death of his father, the way his teenaged hockey pals encouraged him to drink, drink, drink until he was wrapped around a streetlight or vomiting in the street. As the big guy, the tough guy, in some ways, he never stood a chance. He was soaked with alcohol before he ever became an NHL player.

Once he had money, the parties were endless. Cocaine entered the picture, and with an addict’s personality, that was disaster for Probert. His border arrest was just the start of his high-profile troubles. This was a guy who, at times, couldn’t play away games because he wasn’t allowed out of the country, a guy who had to live within walking distance of the Joe because he wasn’t allowed to drive. I once did an interview at his place, and at the end he asked for a lift to the rink.

His time in Detroit ended badly

“Even when he’s just gotten in trouble,” Jacques Demers once lamented, “he has that look that says, ‘I’m sorry. Help me.' "

And you wanted to help. You wanted Probert to shake his demons. He had that ruddy face, that goofy grin, that tousled hair, the look of a man who could be so happy when he was happy. And he had such skill. So Demers, the coach, stuck out his neck, and Jimmy Devellano, the general manager, stuck out his neck, and Mike Ilitch, the owner, stuck out his neck, and in the end, they all got burned. Probert walked away after a motorcycle crash, signed a free-agent deal with Chicago and made millions more before retiring, finally, in 2002.

By that point, he was a memory here, part of the Bruise Brothers days, a guy who averaged more than 3.5 penalty minutes a game. Ironically, he checked out before the Wings began winning Stanley Cups and he never did get a ring. He had several incidents with the law and alcohol in 2004 and 2005. Most of us don’t know what the last few years have held.

He was 45 when he collapsed Monday afternoon. News spread quickly around here — “Bob Probert died?” — and we were stunned because he seemed so indestructible.

But no one is indestructible. Who knows what finally took him? But it took him too soon. Even to the end, you wanted Probert to make it. He should not be remembered by the worst he did, and he cannot be whitewashed by the best. But whether an opponent, an image, an addiction or a past, Bob Probert was always fighting something. He can lay down his arms now. And finally be at peace.

http://www.freep.com/article/20100705/COL01/100705037/1082/Col01/Bob-Proberts-tough-story-ended-far-too-soon

stevkrause and Hockeytown0001 like this

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Fantastic article by Mitch Albom. Apologies if it's been posted already.

Bob Probert's tough story ended far too soon

BY MITCH ALBOM

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

What is a man? Is he the worst he’s ever done? If so, Bob Probert will be remembered for a night he dropped his pants at the Canadian border and a packet of cocaine fell out. He’ll be remembered for handcuffs, for jail, for alcoholism, for wrapping a Monte Carlo around a utility pole, for crashing a motorcycle with his bloodstream laced with substances, and for year after year single-handedly exhausting the patience of the Red Wings’ front office.

What is a man? Is he the best he has ever done? If so, Bob Probert will be remembered for a good heart, a gentle soul, a giant’s body that on skates could do that rarest of combinations, speed, score and wallop. He’ll be remembered for the countless attempts he made at cleaning up instead of giving up, his loyalty to his teammates, his love for his kids, and his sincere desire, each time he said it, to get his life together and live out his days in peace.

What is a man? Bob Probert, the son of a Windsor cop, was the most maddening athlete I have ever covered. Charming. Irresponsible. Repentant. Hard-headed.

And now he’s gone.

Lay down your arms, No. 24.

A character from a video game

“I’ve always thought, ‘I’m Bob. I’m big guy Bob. I don’t need anyone’s help,’” he once told me. It was the kind of bitter honesty that made you want to give him another chance.

He got a lot of them.

Young kids won’t understand our fascination with Probert. They don’t make his kind anymore. But there is a reason you still see people wearing his jersey at Joe Louis Arena, more than 15 years since he last played for Detroit.

Coming up in the 1980s, Bob Probert was the sort of warrior they now model video game characters after. Relentless. Brutal. Single-minded. Unafraid of blood. He was an enforcer, a goon, a guy whose main purpose was to make sure nobody messed with his team’s stars. Someone touched Steve Yzerman? Bob Probert touched back hard. Someone ran the goalie? Probert ran him harder.

His fights are legendary and are no doubt being downloaded at a record clip this morning, after news of his sudden death Monday while boating with his family on Lake St. Clair.

But Probert’s battles on the ice were small compared to the ones he fought within. I remember choking up when he told me about his childhood, the early death of his father, the way his teenaged hockey pals encouraged him to drink, drink, drink until he was wrapped around a streetlight or vomiting in the street. As the big guy, the tough guy, in some ways, he never stood a chance. He was soaked with alcohol before he ever became an NHL player.

Once he had money, the parties were endless. Cocaine entered the picture, and with an addict’s personality, that was disaster for Probert. His border arrest was just the start of his high-profile troubles. This was a guy who, at times, couldn’t play away games because he wasn’t allowed out of the country, a guy who had to live within walking distance of the Joe because he wasn’t allowed to drive. I once did an interview at his place, and at the end he asked for a lift to the rink.

His time in Detroit ended badly

“Even when he’s just gotten in trouble,” Jacques Demers once lamented, “he has that look that says, ‘I’m sorry. Help me.' "

And you wanted to help. You wanted Probert to shake his demons. He had that ruddy face, that goofy grin, that tousled hair, the look of a man who could be so happy when he was happy. And he had such skill. So Demers, the coach, stuck out his neck, and Jimmy Devellano, the general manager, stuck out his neck, and Mike Ilitch, the owner, stuck out his neck, and in the end, they all got burned. Probert walked away after a motorcycle crash, signed a free-agent deal with Chicago and made millions more before retiring, finally, in 2002.

By that point, he was a memory here, part of the Bruise Brothers days, a guy who averaged more than 3.5 penalty minutes a game. Ironically, he checked out before the Wings began winning Stanley Cups and he never did get a ring. He had several incidents with the law and alcohol in 2004 and 2005. Most of us don’t know what the last few years have held.

He was 45 when he collapsed Monday afternoon. News spread quickly around here — “Bob Probert died?” — and we were stunned because he seemed so indestructible.

But no one is indestructible. Who knows what finally took him? But it took him too soon. Even to the end, you wanted Probert to make it. He should not be remembered by the worst he did, and he cannot be whitewashed by the best. But whether an opponent, an image, an addiction or a past, Bob Probert was always fighting something. He can lay down his arms now. And finally be at peace.

http://www.freep.com/article/20100705/COL01/100705037/1082/Col01/Bob-Proberts-tough-story-ended-far-too-soon

reading this seriously just got me choked up... still in disbelief...

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Yeah I posted that article a few pages ago. Very good writing. We mine as well we post it every few pages just so everybody gets a chance to read it because it is one of the better pieces of literary work to come from the Free Press....if that says anything

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On Hockey This Morning on xm 204. That's the nhl home ice 24 hour hockey channel. Jimmy D, this morning was quoted, that Probert was the one player, that he had invested so much heart and time towards. The years of self destruction were hard years on everyone around Bob, and Jimmy D went as far as making a videotape of himself at Proberts fathers grave site. There he pleaded for Bob to change and take steps towards a recovery. He went on to say the Red Wings organization, including the Illitch's "are devastated." Like the rest of us.

He was also quoted at saying, that Bob had been approached by Colin Campbell about future speaking appearances to players, about behavior, substance, and alcohol abuse. And he was totally on board and enthusiastic about the idea. Him and Colin Campbell had a special relationship after all these years. I forgot that Campbell was an assistant coach when Probert came into the league with Detroit.

Just thought I would share what I heard, while sitting in traffic this morning.

Still sad today :(

WizardOfOz30 likes this

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I wonder if they will have the players wear a helmet sticker or maybe make a patch like they did for Vladdy

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:( A real low-note to an all around good weekend. Always one of the real beloved players in the history of the Detroit Red Wings.

You will be missed Probie.

Just no words....

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Puck Daddy has a really nice blog with some blurbs from Daneyko.

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First jersey I ever owned was a Probert. I even put fake blood on it thinking I was cool. This is quite sad and I hope he is fighting in a better place now.

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Man did Probie ever deserve the reception he got during Yzerman's retirement ceremony in '07. Around the 2:20 min mark. Obviously no one had a bigger reception than Vladdy and Stevie. But Probie deserved every cheer and then some! We'll never forget Bob Probert.

Got goosebumps listenning to that crowd and seeing him humbly standing there with his hands in his pockets, then misty eyed watching him escort Vladdy out there...damn

Edited by T.Low

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So sad and untimely. It was such a shock to see this on the news yesterday that its only just sinking in today. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family.

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Wow i have been away and busy the last few days and havnt been anywere near the internet plus the close to zero coverage hockey gets over here this is the first time i heard this news. My heart sunk, couldn't believe it and im still in shock.

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this is very sad. Yes he was a very tough player whom we all admired and loved and was in the NHL but he was still a person. He had ups and downs and so does everyone, people just knew about his. That didn't make him a bad guy though even seeming to have the greatest life doesn't always turn out that way. Prayers to everyone that loved him and hope you are at peace. BTW terrific article by Mitch Albom. Damn that guy can really write. And you really never know what can happen ya know bad things can happen at a moments notice, you hope to god they don't but they still can unfortunately.

Edited by hada612

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I really hope he is at peace and everyone can have demons and be depressed and get into bad things but that doesn't make them a bad person. Hopefully your at peace and you will always be loved and remembered.

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Funeral arrangements for Bob Probert

Tuesday, 07.06.2010 / 4:35 PM / News

By Bill Roose - DetroitRedWings.com Managing Editor

DETROIT -- Funeral arrangements for former Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert, who tragically died Monday while spending an afternoon out on Lake St. Clair with his family, will be held later this week in Windsor, Ontario.

Probert, who played nine of his 16 NHL seasons with the Red Wings, died of an apparent heart attack. He was 45.

Arrangements are being handled by Families First Funeral Home & Tribute Centre, 1065 Lauzon Road, in Windsor. Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, July 7 from 7-9 p.m., and Thursday, July 8 from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.

A funeral service will be held at Windsor Christian Fellowship, 4490 7th Concessionon in Windsor at 10 a.m., Friday, July 9.

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Does anyone know if any of his fellow pugilists have said anything? Would be very interested to hear any words from Ty Domi or Marty McSorley...

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Ya, I am sure Steve is pretty devistated...

(side note, I was searching for more info and stuff and ran accross the Hawks Book, HAWKEYtown, they are so envious of us!)

Anyway, again, RIP Probie!

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