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#2011061 Bob Probert passes away at 45

Posted by Chairman Maouth on 06 July 2010 - 10:53 AM

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

Bob Probert's tough story ended far too soon

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.


#2010953 Red Wings Making Play for Modano

Posted by ShanahanMan on 06 July 2010 - 01:42 AM


hope the douchebag doesn't break a hip.

#2010935 Bob Probert passes away at 45

Posted by ShakeyWalton on 06 July 2010 - 12:40 AM

I specifically signed up for this forum to give my regards to all you Detroit fans. I am a die-hard Blues fan, yet find myself devastated by the loss of Probie. What an absolute warrior, and a hell of a hockey player. I am 29 years old, grew up hating Probert, but always dreamed of how great he would look in the 'Note.

I am so sorry for your loss Detroit. Life has a way of smacking you between the eyes, does it not?

#2010541 Bob Probert passes away at 45

Posted by eva unit zero on 05 July 2010 - 04:11 PM

And even though he's dead, he could STILL kick Tie Domi's ass.

RIP Probie.

#2010536 Bob Probert passes away at 45

Posted by jollymania on 05 July 2010 - 04:08 PM

He probably paid for it with his lifestyle, but RIP Probie,you will be missed

#2009873 Happy 4th of July!

Posted by Jedi on 04 July 2010 - 03:42 AM

Happy Independence Day, everyone!


I hope everyone has a safe, fun filled holiday. If you get a second, stop and remember all that our founders had to go through to give us the freedom to celebrate our nation's independence, as well as the soldiers who continue to secure those same freedoms.

God Bless The United States of America!!

#2009867 Is Vancouver the team to beat?

Posted by Yzerman191 on 04 July 2010 - 02:19 AM

I was in Vancouver in February. Are you sure about that?

As soon as Vancouver is allowed to bypass the salary cap and assemble a roster exceeding $125M in payroll, I'll worry about his Olympic achievements. Until then, I'll remember that he doesn't have multiple Norris contenders in front of him, as well as forwards capable of keeping the puck from ever reaching the defensive zone to begin with. I honestly think any of the three goaltenders for team Canada could've won them gold. Thus, I don't really consider it that much of an achievement for him.

#2009787 Is Vancouver the team to beat?

Posted by Broken 16 on 03 July 2010 - 08:25 PM

Alot of us here believe that Luongo is a sieve and has a s***ty attitude. That's why we don't fear your team. And considering that he has never really done anything to prove otherwise, I guess you're just gonna have to deal with it.

#2009785 Is Vancouver the team to beat?

Posted by Broken 16 on 03 July 2010 - 08:21 PM

Excellent response their chief. Well done and totally original. In the nearly 5 years I've been a member here no has ever before told me to leave. Not a mod, not a member, no one. You're the first.

I like this forum and the people here. For the most part, they are fairly knowledgeable and polite hockey fans. Congratulations on being the exception that proves the rule.

Boo hoo

#2009217 Blackhawks doing their best to embrace change

Posted by Majsheppard on 02 July 2010 - 02:07 PM

Thought this was interesting -

Hawks will be without - (so far)

Regular Season
70 Goals, 93 Assists

22 Goals, 23 Assists

If Madden goes it will add 10, 13 to Regular Season and 1, 1 to Playoffs.

I am more interested to what the plus/minus shift will be. Remember Buff screened goalies, Madden and others did a great grinding job playing defensive forward. I think people forget too often that players, even if they are putting points up also have to make sure the other team isn't... cough cough, not like we have any of THOSE players cough cough.

This could hurt Chicago even more than the points, but that Playoff point count is disgusting.

Thought this was interesting -

Hawks will be without - (so far)

Regular Season
70 Goals, 93 Assists

22 Goals, 23 Assists

If Madden goes it will add 10, 13 to Regular Season and 1, 1 to Playoffs.

They have by far the most changes of any post-lockout champion.

2006 Carolina Hurricanes Offseason -

G John Grahame (FA from Tampa Bay)
D David Tanabe (FA from Boston)
D Tim Gleason (trade from Los Angeles)
F Trevor Letowski (FA from Columbus)
F Scott Walker (trade from Nashville)
F Brad Isbister (FA from Boston)
F Eric Belanger (trade from Los Angeles)

G Martin Gerber (FA to Ottawa)
D Aaron Ward (FA to Rangers)
D Oleg Tverdovsky (trade to Los Angeles)
F Matt Cullen (FA to Rangers)
F Doug Weight (FA to St. Louis)
F Josef Vasicek (trade to Nashville)
F Mark Recchi (FA to Pittsburgh)

While not exactly losing any big names like Staal or Brind'amour, the players they lost to retirement or free agency were duly replaced, and Carolina looked just as good, if not better than the previous season.

2007 Anaheim Ducks Offseason -

D Mathieu Schneider (FA from Detroit)
F Todd Bertuzzi (FA from Detroit)
F Mark Mowers (FA from Boston)
F Bobby Ryan (rookie)

F Dustin Penner (FA to Edmonton)
D Scott Niedermayer (temporary retirement)
F Teemu Selanne (temporary retirement)
F Shawn Thornton (FA to Boston)
F Ryan Shannon (trade to VAN)

2008 Detroit Red Wings Offseason -

F Marian Hossa (FA from Pittsburgh)
G Ty Conklin (FA from Pittsburgh)
F Ville Leino (rookie)

G Dominik Hasek (retirement)
F Dallas Drake (retirement)
D Kyle Quincey (waivers, picked up by LA)
F Mark Hartigan (FA to Russia)

2009 Pittsburgh Penguins Offseason -

D Jay McKee (FA from STL)
D Martin Skoula (FA from MIN)
G Brent Johnson (FA from WA)
F Mike Rupp (FA from NJ)

D Rob Scuderi (FA to LA)
F Miroslav Satan (FA to Boston)
D Hal Gill (FA to MTL)
G Mathieu Garon (FA to CBJ)

All in all, no major depth losses for any of the teams that weren't adequately replaced. Now let's look at Chicago thusfar.

F Marty Reasoner (trade from ATL)
D Ivan Vishnevsky (trade from ATL)
F Viktor Stalberg (trade from TOR)
Six prospects

F Dustin Byfuglien (trade to ATL)
D Brent Sopel (trade to ATL)
F Andrew Ladd (trade to ATL)
F Ben Eager (trade to ATL)
F Kris Versteeg (trade to TOR)
F Colin Fraser (trade to EDM)
F Adam Burish (FA to DAL)

That's seven players who played roles in the Stanley Cup win.

Love the legwork! These are the posts that make me come to these sites. I apprecate the hell out of it!

One thing you can give them some credit for is that they didn't lose but one player without getting something back... I mean that is somewhat impressive with their cap problems that they get back a bunch of prospects.

They have to have a strong farm system right now, because they had so many bad years and now they have so many prospects from Atlanta and Toronto... who has had so many bad years!

#2009002 Hawks deal Ladd to Thrashers

Posted by WingsForever on 02 July 2010 - 03:22 AM

sorry Hawks troll, losing your bottom 7 forwards and bottom 3 defensemen is still called a dismantling. No matter what terms you want to put it in.

You wait, imagine how many knowledgeable hockey players will want to sign long-term high-dollar deals with Chicago considering the second they under-perform they get put on waivers.

I know I personally wouldn't want to sign with a front office with that mentality. The Red Wings will be better than last year, and I don't know if Comcast only airs Blackhawk games or what - but I think you can still read about how injury-ridden we were last season.

Did you see the clinic we put on after the olympics?

Thats the team we're putting on the ice come October, with the addition of Hudler.

Sorry for kicking your soapbox. :(

#2008866 Free Agency Thread

Posted by puffy on 01 July 2010 - 09:11 PM

Paul, is that you?

No, I'm just your typical Romanian pervert. I would never pretend to be Paul Kariya...because lets face it, Asians have small penises!!! ;)

Like I said before a "past his prime" Paul Kariya is still better than half the free agents out there today.

#2008829 Free Agency Thread

Posted by HankthaTank on 01 July 2010 - 08:46 PM

That is it, eh? Well quite a climactic ending to the night in the chatroom. The fact I let the troll be fed an enormous amount is my bad, mods. Posted Image Either way Go Wings, and hopefully this month we get something done :thumbup:

Proud to be from the Metro-Detroit area.

#2008333 Parents sue because kids suck at hockey

Posted by wings1110 on 01 July 2010 - 03:19 PM

they must think sports are communist.....they most definitly arnt....especially hockey

#2007868 Free Agency Thread

Posted by Drake_Marcus on 01 July 2010 - 11:48 AM

Can someone explain to me why Ottawa pissed 5.5 mil away on a 36 year old veteran offensive defenseman when they're supposed to be rebuilding right now?