Thirty years ago today, Bob Probert thrashed Wendel Clark in Toronto

by

comment
Yeah, we know, that's Probert fighting Darren Langdon, not Wendel Clark. Well, it's not like free pro sports photos grow on trees, now, do they? - COURTESY WIKIPEDIA COMMONS,
  • Courtesy Wikipedia Commons,
  • Yeah, we know, that's Probert fighting Darren Langdon, not Wendel Clark. Well, it's not like free pro sports photos grow on trees, now, do they?

Here's a little "old-time hockey" for you, a decisive "enforcer vs. enforcer" match from Oct. 17, 1987, when Red Wing Bob Probert grabbed Toronto Maple Leaf Wendel Clark and didn't stop pounding until his prey fell to the ice and refs stepped in to end the lopsided brawl. A dazed-looking Clark was led away.

As Probert beatdowns go, it wasn't necessarily the most mythic take-down. It was the dramatic interlude of at least two other major confrontations between the men. Clark, aka "Captain Crunch," was another hockey player with a reputation for brawling. In his rookie year, he earned 227 minutes in the penalty box. At 5-foot-11, Clark was often the smaller guy in his brawls, but he earned a reputation as a bulldog. As one fan put it well,  "Clark’s ability to lift the entire team with a drop of the gloves was unparalleled."



Probert and Clark's first major confrontation took place Dec. 27, 1986, with the men throwing punches at each other for about 30 seconds before they appeared to tire. A second long brawl came Dec. 9, 1992, in a drawn-out bout that involved more wrestling and grabbing than punching.

But many fans of that "old-time hockey" will appreciate the decisive bout of 30 years ago. Playing an away game in Toronto, Probert slugged the crap out of his old nemesis, hammering Clark again and again as the men whirled around on the ice, until a still-game Clark was left grasping at Probert's leg down on the ice. While led away by a ref, a delirious-looking Clark managed a small grin. Let's go to the tape.





We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.