One half of the beloved Bruise Brothers is now gone.
Bob Probert just 45 died Monday July 5th. The news was equally both saddening and shocking. In 1983 the Detroit Red Wings acquired Steve Yzerman who would go on to become a Legend. Also in that draft Bob Probert and Joe Kocur. Prior before all three were gotten. Hockey in Detroit was pretty much dead. Probie spent two years playing in the minors. Wings were in last place 1985-86 season when he started playing. In the 1987-88 season Probie played on the first forward line with Yzerman & Gerard Gallant. He scored 29 goals. He could not only fight, he could Play! And was selected to the All Star team that year. He also tied third on the team with Peter Klima with 62 points that year. Joe Kocur was acquired in 1985-86 season and played with the Wings that year. Kocur led the NHL that year with 377 penalty minutes. Two years later Probie broke Kocur’s record with 398. Both were the two most feared players in the game. By the 1987-88 season Detroit Red Wings were back ALIVE! Now being called the Bruise Brothers it made The Detroit Red Wings the most feared team in the league.
And for the first time since the early 60s won a playoff series and made it to the conference finals. But losing to the Edmonton Oilers who would go on to win the Stanley Cup that year. But the DEAD WINGS WERE NO MORE.
Joe Louis Arena named for a legend Detroit Boxer would now draw in sold out hockey games. Yzerman by 1989 had scored a career best with 65 goals. Even though that year the Wings missed the playoffs, they still were selling the most tickets in the NHL. Even those who were not even Hockey fans became them because of Probie & Kocur. The roof of Joe Louis was raised with each and every fight. Fans would roar until hoarse. Bob Probert unfortunately did have personal problems with alcohol and drugs. But being as it may Probie was still beloved as a hockey player and enforcer.
Monday he lost what would be the few fights of his life and sadly the final one. I will never forget on January 2, 2007 at Steve Yzerman’s number retiring ceremony when many former Wings were present. And some of the Greats. Of course the fans gave the likes of Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio roars upon announcements. Especially Howe. But when one player nobody even thought would be there got announced Bob Probert, tears literally welled up in my eyes as that crowd gave Probie their undying love and respect with thunderous applause. It probably shocked Probie more because all of his personal problems of the past that hindered not only his career but caused some at that time to turn from Probie. Not on this night.
The Detroit Red Wing Fans of HOCKEY TOWN showed this man how much he had really been appreciated and loved through problems and back. For me outside of the event in its self of Yzerman’s night. That Probie moment was the highlight of that evening. And was choreographed perfect with Probie and Kocur sitting behind the penalty box to watch the game. It was classic. He had to get permission to cross the border that night for this event. And all of us had hoped we would see him again in future Alumni games as in January 27, 2007. But now that hope has been dashed with his passing. I’m still in shock. As when Mark Fidrych died. So good, so young. Bob Probert will never be forgotten in this town and there’s no doubt when the 2010 season starts in Oct. The Red Wings and the Fans will pay homage. Because he along with others brought Life back into this town and to the game of Hockey here in Detroit that had been dead for way too long.
Probie may be gone but he will never be forgotten.
OH BABY! DAMN RIGHT
GOD, PROBIE WE WILL MISS YOU
He could PLAY TOO PEOPLE.
Scoiring the very last goal at the Gardens, Toronto.
How everybody in that Arena that night had wished Maguire had got up.
No Wonder he picked on Yzerman
Thanks for having your friends back Probie and Thank You for all the Memories.