Monday, November 29, 2010

Probert tells his story

Tough Guy
By Bob Probert,
with Kirstie McLellan Day
HarperCollins Canada
Pages: 288   Price: $32.99
Daily News Sports Editor
Why did Bob Probert choose to tell his story so explicitly in black and white?
In his wife Dani’s 10-line foreword, she explains that “as our kids got older, they started hearing stuff about him that wasn’t true. This really bugged Bob. He knew he was no angel, but he wanted the real story on record.”
Well, the real story now is on the record. Oh, is it!
And if you should choose to read this book, there won’t be any doubt left in your mind about Probert’s relationship with angels. You also will ask yourself this: If this was the real Bob Probert, what stories were his children hearing? Because there are some awfully wild tales here.
After Dani’s foreword, there is a prologue titled The Last Chapter in which Kirstie McLellan Day, who co-authored Theo Fleury’s book Playing With Fire, details Probert’s July 5 death.
After that chapter, Probert, in his own words, details his career in hockey, and it isn’t pretty. In fact, if you took out the booze, drugs, sex and fighting, well, there wouldn’t be much left.
Reading this book is pretty much like driving past a traffic accident — you don’t want to look, but you can’t stop yourself.
When you get to Chapter 1, you find that the first two words are “Tie Domi” and the sixth word is an f-bomb. The stage is set.
And as you read through this, you are likely to reach one conclusion — the fact Probert lived as long as he did was some kind of miracle.
Probert, of course, was well-known as a hockey brawler and it was common knowledge that he had drug problems that resulted in run-ins with the law. But the extent of Probert’s troubles are mind-boggling, to say the least.
He treated his stints in jail and in rehab as mere bumps in the road, and so did the NHL and a couple of its teams, at least so long as he was deemed to be a productive athlete.
In fact, some of the decisions made by other people who impacted Probert’s life were amazing. For example, while with the Detroit Red Wings he and the then-troubled Sheldon Kennedy became buddies.
“We were introduced and told we were going to be living together, to straighten each other out, if you can believe it,” Probert says.
Among other things, it was Probert who introduced Kennedy to cocaine.
Kennedy, who now is on the straight and narrow, was a pallbearer at Probert’s funeral.
When Probert chose to do this book, he decided to bare his soul and expose every secret and skeleton in his life’s closet. It’s just too bad he no longer is with us because it could have been quite a book tour.
Interestingly, there is a list of Probert’s on-ice pugilistic opponents in the back of the book.
During his NHL career, he had 246 fights.
Yes, it’s a tough way to make a living, and perhaps that had something to do with his lifestyle.  Taking Note on Twitter

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