Bob Probert

PHT Morning Skate: Fighting Bob Probert; What’s wrong with Red Wings?

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Gritty made a special birthday wish come true for a young fan battling cancer. (ESPN)

• The Penguins will be without Patric Hornqvist for the foreseeable future as he hits IR. (Pensburgh)

• 10 former NHLers shared stories about fighting Bob Probert. (The Hockey News)

• It’s time for the San Jose Sharks to start looking in the mirror. (NBC Sports Bay Area)

• The Canadiens have recalled top prospect Ryan Poehling from the minors and they’ve placed Jesperi Kotkaniemi on IR. (TSN)

• Former NBA commissioner David Stern said Alex Ovechkin‘s contract is the dumbest thing he’s ever seen. (NBC Sports Washington)

• Here are seven keys for the Capitals in order for them to win another Stanley Cup. (Nova Caps)

• Subpar refereeing is hurting the NHL’s image and credibility. (Sinbin.Vegas)

• In former NHLer news, Scott Darling has signed with HC Innsbruck of the Austrian league. [HC Innsbruck]

• And Scottie Upshall has signed a one-year deal in Switzerland with HC Ambri-Piotta. [Swiss Hockey News]

• Oilers Nation breaks down Edmonton’s last seven-game segment. (Oilers Nation)

• Should the Islanders keep rolling Derick Brassard out on the wing? (The Sports Daily)

• The Kings aren’t very good right now, but here are six reasons to keep watching their games. (Jewels from the Crown)

• The Red Wings have a lack of talent and they have coaching issues too. That’s not a good combination. (MLive)

• Panthers owner Vinnie Viola is co-owner of Vino Rosso, the horse who won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday. [America’s Best Racing]

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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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