Probert and Stothers had a history going back to the AHL. I also have to add that Mike Stothers
was a good/great minor league HW who spent the bulk of his career with the Hershey Bears
along side another well known minor league toughie in Don Nachbauer. Had philly not had the likes of brown berube stanley, tocchet etc.. we would have seen more of them. If memeory serves, Stothers had a great series of fights with the legendary Val James
. Stothers was no joke or run of the mill down in the A. Stothers and probie had a great fight down there with Probie getting the better of it.
Maguire came up as well and did the same thing (suckered probert) and those two had some pretty good fights after that. I think there was a time for fighting and a time for playing hockey when it came to Probert. I think that added to his unpredictability. He was a good player and that part of him most likely reasoned it would be better to fight another day because in those days-there was always a chance to fight again. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but probie would have fought a thousand times had he accepted every challenge. That wears on a guy-particularly so when you are trying to play hockey and get on the score sheet. I also think with probert's reputation and fighting in the NHL really exploding the way it did at that time-every run of the mill gunslinger and minor league wildman was going to take a shot at probert. Take a shot at anyone really.
I think it's even more of an accomplishment that probert was a two way threat-he could beat you with his fists and on the score sheet, AND go on to become the GOAT in terms of fighting in the NHL.
I would say-although this would be speculation on my part-that had probert been a one dimensional enforcer type with limited playing skills, turning down such invites as he did would and should generate more criticism. As it stands, even with declining certain fights in certain situations, he still had 300+ fights in one of the most remarkable careers for a fighter of all time-as well as one of the greatest fight cards you will ever come across.
I guess I don't really hold his refusals/declinations against him too much.