One of the greatest enforcers in hockey history passed away yesterday. Bob Probert was drafted in 1983 with Steve Yzerman and Joe Kocur. He finally broke into the NHL in 1985-86 season, and rolled up 186 PIMs, good for third on the team. Those were some of the grittiest teams in hockey history.
Together with Kocur he was part of the infamous Bruise Brothers. Over the course of his career, he amassed 3300 penalty minutes in 935 games. Of course what Probert was best known for was his fights, below is a list of his greatest hits:
- Two long fights with Craig Coxe of the Vancouver Canucks in the mid-1980s.
- A career-spanning series of battles with Tie Domi of the New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets, and Toronto Maple Leafs. One of Probert’s memorable confrontations was also the genesis of Tie Domi’s now-infamous belt gesture, where he guestured to the crowd as if he had a heavyweight title belt around his waist. Fights afterwards between Domi and Probert were seen in the eyes of many as Probert “getting his title back” from Domi.
- A career-spanning series of fights with longtime enforcer Stu Grimson, including a fight in December 1993 when the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim made their first visit ever to Detroit.
- A memorable fight on December 17, 1993 with former teammate Joey Kocur of the Rangers, during a brawl involving several players from both teams. Probert and Kocur had grabbed the nearest opposing player without realizing who it was, and continued trading punches even after they identified each other. Later on in Probert’s career, he would face Kocur a couple more times when he was with the Chicago Blackhawks.
- A fight on February 4, 1994, against Marty McSorley, then of the Pittsburgh Penguins, lasting nearly 100 seconds.
Here are some great videos of his best fights:
Hockey needs another player like Bob Probert to keeps guys like Sean Avery in check. Rest in Peace Bob we will all miss you.