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Abel to Yzerman

Hey Stu

from Stu Grimson at CBC Sports,

By now, everyone in the restaurant was looking at the big man walking toward me, and many of them undoubtedly recognized him as Bob Probert.

As I turned to greet him, I really didn’t know what I was supposed to do. We had fought four times during the regular season. At that point in my career, I wasn’t yet clear on what kind of relationships NHL tough guys had with each other off the ice. I wondered if I was going to have to fight Probert in the restaurant in front of my wife.

He seemed more friendly than menacing as he strolled toward me. But would it be wise to let down my guard with Bob Probert bearing down on me? Should I stand back and get ready to throw or should I shake the man’s hand? That’s what was running through my mind before Bob reached me and held out his hand.

read on

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In the restaurant interview with Probert for the doc about enforcers that
came out a few years ago, he comes across as a likable guy who was
aware, at least partly, of the heavy toll his job took to be or become that ultra-intimidating, let it all hang out tough guy he had to be on the ice. The pressure and stress as much as the physical impact.

I don’t mean to write out of turn because I don’t know that much.
It was just an impression of the man off the ice reflecting on what he had to do.
Maybe I was inclined to see him in the best light because he’s one of ours.
But he seemed based on that interview like the kind of tough guy any fan could respect.

Seeing Marty McSorely in the same sort of interview for the same doc sort of gave me a slightly chilling filling. He came across like a guy who took some enjoyment from hurting people on the ice and was proud that he did it - beyond what he “had to do” for his teammates.

I don’t want to conclude too much from two interviews.
But like in any field I imagine there are a range of personality types at the higher end of status and achievement. I bet most tough guys are like Grimson describes. Statistically there have to have been a few over the years who don’t mind being violent and don’t care much about their opponents. Just extrapolating from the population as a whole.

Posted by lefty.30 on 11/06/19 at 07:33 PM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com