Former Detroit Red Wing Bob Probert has passed away today at the age of 45. Probert played for Detroit from1985 to 1994 and was an integral part of the team as the enforcer during his time in a Red Wings sweater.
He holds the franchise record for penalty minutes and along with Joey Kocur was part of one of the most feared fighting duos in the NHL. Bob Probert's vicious right left its mark on the faces of his opponents and made players think twice about doing anything again. Just as good as he was at dishing out the punishment, he could handle it as well--remaining standing after punches that would have put other players on their backs, gazing up at the rafters of Joe Louis Arena.
Probert's career year in terms of production was 1987-1988. He scored 29 goals and 33 assists with a career single season high 398 penalty minutes. He racked up 3,300 penalty minutes in his NHL career which is 5th on the all-time list.
I'm not going to pretend for one second that I remember the glory days of Probert in Detroit because I don't. But I can recognize and appreciate the significance he had to the team during his time in Detroit. He was one of the best in the league at what he did and it provided a level of grit and intimidation that was needed on a team that was starting to develop its young players. Probert was the epitome of the "tough guy" during the 1980s-1990s and as judge, jury, and executioner, you had better hope you did nothing that could be construed as a crime in his eyes.
If you wanted a guy to protect your young star (Steve Yzerman) then Bob Probert was the best in the business. He will be missed by Detroit fans and will remain a Hockeytown legend, despite his early passing.