Bob Probert played during an era where enforcers and fighters were all around, and an important part of teams.
Today, it’s somewhat of a lost art to be an enforcer, and fighting happens far less than during those days.
And during those days, no one did their job better than Bob Probert. He was one half of the ‘Bruise Brothers’ with Red Wings’ teammate Joey Kocur, and they took no prisoners on the ice.
If you played against Detroit, you had to think twice about what you did to the star players, as it was certain that both Probert and Kocur, two of the toughest guys in hockey history, would come after you.
Probert was a great protector, especially to Detroit captain and superstar Steve Yzerman. Probert holds the franchise record in Detroit for the most penalty minutes in a season, as he, in his breakout 1987-88 season with the Red Wings, registered 29 goals, 33 assists, and 62 points.
But more notably, he set a record with 398 penalty minutes in the process, and with how hockey is being played today and how much less physical it has become, it’s probable that record will never be broken.
Bob Probert was a nightmare to play against and even tougher to drop the gloves with.
But Probert could inflict severe harm besides fights as well. One time, he lost balance in a battle with two-time Stanley Cup winner Bob Rouse. We don’t know if Rouse, with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the time, did something to upset Probert.
We don’t know if it was accidental or not either, but when losing his balance, Probert swung his stick against Rouse—and he hit so hard that the stick actually brought a big chunk of the helmet with it.
The pictures of the helmet shown after the game, with a big hole in it, were absolutely incredible, and it’s certainly something.