Tag: Bob Probert


“Goon” is cinema’s love letter to hockey enforcers


Hockey movies fall into two categories generally, they either go down as iconic (“Slap Shot” “Miracle”) or they go down in flames (“The Love Guru”). You can chalk up “Goon” as being an iconic film of its own.

One of the stars of the movie is Liev Schreiber, who plays the movie’s antagonist Ross “The Boss” Rhea, says it’s hard to do a hockey movie the right way and to do something no one’s seen before.

“How do you do a hockey movie fresh? How do you add anything to the anthology of hockey movies? One thing that Jay [Baruchel] really defines this movie with is the heart. That’s the one thing people don’t often talk about when they talk about hockey,” says Schreiber.

“I think it’s also something that defines hockey players. There’s a very strict code, especially among enforcers, of how you treat each other and you leave it all on the ice. Respect.”

Schreiber’s character Rhea plays the foil to Seann William Scott’s Doug Glatt and while you might be able to say that Rhea is the villain, that’s not the way Schreiber sees it.

source:  “I, personally, would disagree highly in saying Ross is a villain,” Schreiber says with a laugh.

“Guys like Probert, Georges Laraque, Donald Brashear, Dave Schultz… It was impactful to read about these guys’ lives and the misperception of them both as not hockey players and as goons. I think that’s part of what hurts for those guys.

“They give so much of their bodies and their lives to the game… I don’t know how many of them want to be remembered as purely enforcers or goons. I think a lot of those guys were great hockey players and that’s how they should be remembered.”

If it sounds like big talk for what’s a comedic movie, you’d be missing the point. “Goon” is a funny and violent film with enough bad language to make a sailor proud, but what’s hockey without all that?

“Goon” is a movie made by hockey fans (Director Michael Dowse and writer/co-star Jay Baruchel) with a metric ton of heart and it shows in how it plays out. Passing on watching this one would be a mistake.

“Goon” is currently available on Video On Demand and will hit theaters on March 30.

Family has “no plans” to donate Gordie Howe’s brain for concussion research

2012 NHL All-Star Game - NHL Fan Fair

The Canadian Press caused quite a stir when they supposedly made too-big a story out of Gordie Howe’s “mild cognitive impairment,” indicating that Mr. Hockey is fighting dementia.

With all that discussion about Howe’s cognitive functions, perhaps it only makes sense that some are asking if his family will donate the legend’s brain to concussion researchers once he dies – much like Bob Probert and other deceased players’ loved ones opted to do. Marty Howe told The Globe & Mail’s David Shoalts that the family hasn’t had that discussion, but his “opinion is it probably wouldn’t happen.”

Marty Howe didn’t really expand on that, but it’s ultimately the family’s choice. Interestingly enough, Howe did say that he believes concussions have contributed to his father’s condition – whatever you want to call it – so perhaps that stance might change with time.

Report: Derek Boogaard dealt with issues related to Alzheimer’s disease

Derek Boogaard

A sad and stunning New York Times report reveals that studies of Derek Boogaard’s brain provided evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is described as “a degenerative brain ailment related to Alzheimer’s disease that is caused by repeated blows to the head.”

One of the report’s most disturbing findings was that the disease was more pronounced in Boogaard (who died at age 28 and played in parts of six NHL seasons) than Bob Probert (who died at age 45 and played in parts of 16 NHL seasons). Dr. Ann McKee – one of the leading researchers – had this to say after studying Boogaard’s brain.

“To see this amount? That’s a ‘wow’ moment,” McKee said. “This is all going bad.”

It’s tough to argue with that point.

Versus crew slams Buffalo’s response to hit on Miller

Ryan Miller, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara
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Brendan Shanahan voiced his disapproval of the Buffalo Sabres’ verbal response to Milan Lucic’s hit on Ryan Miller, but what about the lack of in-game reaction? Keith Jones and Mike Milbury were all over the Sabres for their tepid response to a run on their goalie, both immediately after the check and as the game goes along.

If you ask me, the most interesting part of the video is the old footage, though. Jones rolls a clip that stretches back to 1987, when the (gasp) Sabres angrily responded to Bob Probert taking a shot at Tom Barrasso. A lot has been made about Buffalo’s lack of “personnel” to bring “justice” to Lucic, but the clip features an ingenious response to that line of reasoning. After all, Probert ranks as one of the most featured enforcers of all-time, so if you can respond to him, couldn’t you do the same to Lucic?

(Not saying it’s the exact same situation, but this is interesting food for thought …)

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Add former Flames brawler Jim Peplinski to the anti-fighting camp

Jim Peplinski

In the wake of three deaths this summer to guys who were known more for throwing their fists than for scoring goals, the debate over whether or not the NHL should continue to allow fighting is heating up. From hearing Devils forward Cam Janssen talking about what he deals with in being a fighter to having the debate rage on with Georges Laraque saying that it’s a part of the game that can’t be eliminated job-wise it’s a topic wrought with angles.

One thing that is happening through all this, however, is hearing from players from hockey’s past who find that with the way things have changed in the NHL, they’re finding that their opinions are changed on how they used to make their living in hockey.

One such guy is former Calgary Flames tough guy Jim Peplinski. In Peplinski’s 11-year NHL career, he played in 711 games and racked up 1,467 penalty minutes including fights with some of the NHL’s most legendary fighters like Bob Probert, John Kordic, and Chris Nilan. Coincidentally, Probert and Kordic were two of the most troubled guys of their day as Kordic died in 1992 from heart failure due to drug abuse and Probert passed away last year from a heart attack after a career that involved many fights and drug problems of his own.

Peplinski tells Eric Duhatschek of The Globe & Mail that the way fighting is handled today makes it vastly more dangerous than it was in his day.

Peplinski, who said his distaste for fighting was a contributing factor in his decision to retire prematurely from the NHL, noted: “I never enjoyed fighting. My son always says, ‘Did you ever get mad?’ Just in the moment.

“I never held any intentional premeditation that there was going to be a fight. Sometimes, it happened. What I see today is different than that. I would prefer today, with the way the game has gone, to see fighting completely eliminated.

“I think most fights – 90 per cent – add nothing to the game and in fact, they take away from the beauty of the game. It’s in that category of mixed martial arts or WWE, and the players risk serious injury.”

The staged fight aspect of the NHL is one that drives a lot of fans and pundits crazy. After all, you can virtually predict when a fight will break out given who’s put out on the ice and often times these fights spring out of nowhere for no rhyme or reason aside from it involving two guys whose sole job is to throw punches and little else.

The injuries that can occur during a fight, either obvious or not, is what is at the heart of the matter in this debate. With concussions and their treatment being such a major point of concern, you have to wonder how long fighting will remain in the game before it’s outlawed in favor of player safety. After all, with the league going out of their way to take care of players who are victimized by head shots by suspending players responsible for that, two guys engaging in fisticuffs mutually comes off looking backwards and counterproductive to the cause.

If those who want to keep fighting in the game want to make a case for doing so, treating hockey fighters the way boxing and MMA commissions treat their fighters health-wise would be a good step. That means clearing players by a doctor after going through a fight and making sure they’re 100-percent healthy before even setting foot back on the ice. After all, bare-knuckle boxing hasn’t been around in the United States since 1889, but it’s part of the game in hockey. Think about that.

It’s not quite King Solomon’s compromise, but if everyone is going to have what they want, this would be a good way to approach things.