Friday, July 09, 2010

Bob Probert

Bob Probert died this weekend. As always, this is a shame for family and friends. It's also a shame for hockey. All of his problems aside, I think Probert was the best enforcer of his generation. First, he was universally feared. But, more importantly, he was also productive offensively. Consider his numbers against four other tough guys. Probert was good for 384 points in 935 NHL games. That's .41 points per game. Tie Domi? 0.24. Joey Kocur? .20. Stu Grimson? .05. George Laraque? .22. Marty McSorley, who played among the greatest offences in the game? .37.

An enforcer who can also put the puck in the net creates havoc for a defense. Is there another pure enforcer with numbers like Probert's? In fact, can you think of a single one who's had three 20 goal seasons? McGinnis? Bodet? Gimme your answers. 


Daniel Rubenson said...

John Ferguson Sr. OK he didn't have three 20 goal seasons but he had two and one 19 goal year. So that's close enough. He had 303 pts in 500 games. .6 pts per game.

He also had 38 pts in 85 playoff games. All the while having time to spend 1214 minutes in the penalty box.

Peter Loewen said...

Well played, but I am not sure he's easily counted as an enforcer. While he spent 1214 minutes in the box, it was just 2.4 per game, or half a fight per game.

Probert spent 3.5 minutes, or about 50% more.

Still, Ferguson is very impressive, not least because he was so consistent offensively.

Daniel said...

I _knew_ you would counter with the he's-not-an-enforcer tack.

I think it's hard to compare across eras. I have no idea, but maybe it's the case that fewer penalties were called, on average, during Ferguson's time.

Either way, I think it's clear he wasn't hired because of his play making! And he did get into his first fight 12 seconds into his first NHL game!

Loren said...

I don't think there are any pure enforcers that have 3 20 goal seasons, not even Probert. You have to drop the criteria for pims, rather than toughness. Guys like Cam Neely and Brendan Shanahan could have made a living fighting, but they're 50 goal guys. McSorley is a great story because he fought his way into the league and then turned into a player. His .37 pts per game is impressive given a long career and most of it played on defense. Probert's most impressive season was his first full season in the league: he got 62 pts in 74 games and 398 pims. In 16 playoff games that year he got 21 pts and 50 pims. Absolutely incredible. In the same playoff run Yzerman got 18 pts and 8 pims.

Anonymous said...

If .37 pts/gm is high enough to be considered an offensive threat, then Dave Schultz had to make the list, no? He was arguably the most feared player and toughest enforcer in the 1970s (it helps to have played for Philly too!)

Penalty mins/gm: 4.3
Pts/gm: .37

His career was much shorter than Probert's, however, so in that sense it's not as impressive. I mean, it's hard enough to have a 15+ season career in the NHL, it's even harder when you play like Probert did night in and night out.

Also, what about Tiger Williams? Career leader in total pen. mins (almost 4,000, with 4.12/gm), and 0.53 pts/gm. He also had four 20-goal seasons.

Chris said...

How about Wendel Clark?

563 points in 793 games = .711
PIM - 1690

3 - 20 goal seasons
4 - 30 goal seasons
1 - 40 goal season

The ultimate enforcer.