After a 19-year NHL career in which he had 1,079 assists and 1,420 points, center Adam Oates. Mike Adessa, who coached Oates at RPI, once affectionately called him "a stumpy, heavy-footed, poor-skating, no-shooting kid." But Oates was one of the smartest players and greatest passers the game has ever known. Playing for the Bruins in the 1992-93 season, Oates had 97 assists, a total only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr have surpassed. He played with several top teams—he broke in with the Red Wings and also played for Washington, Philadelphia and St. Louis—but Oates didn't reach the Stanley Cup finals until last year, with the Mighty Ducks. In his final game, for Edmonton last Saturday, Oates set up Igor Ulanov for a goal.
To Pete Pihos and his ex-wife and caretaker, Donna, most of the memorabilia the Hall of Famer lost when they exchanged the items for $30,000 in bogus checks (SI, March 8). Last week police dropped off bags containing Pihos's jerseys, leather shoulder pads and other items that were recovered from Shawn M. Stevens, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in Greensboro, N.C., on charges of using fraudulent checks to pay for the mementos and of the interstate transportation of stolen property. No court appearance has been scheduled. "I cried when we got them back," says Donna, who was selling the mementos to pay for Alzheimer's care for Pete, who is 80.
Its officials to more strictly enforce rules limiting contact with receivers, the NFL. Alarmed by an 11-year low in passing yards in 2003, the league last week told its zebras to call any jersey-tugging by defenders and to flag defensive players for jostling receivers beyond the five-yard bump zone. In recent years those five yards have become, in practice, seven or eight, and passing numbers have plummeted. In 1995 teams combined to throw for 471 yards per game; last year, the number was 428. Look for two things this season: more flags and a couple of big receivers ( Terrell Owens? Randy Moss?) to have big years against cornerbacks who are up to five inches shorter. "In the draft this year there's going to be an influx of 10 or 12 tall receivers, so there will be almost one per team," says Lions coach Steve Mariucci. "The league wants more passing, and they're going to get it."
In federal court in Oxford, Miss., to charges of money laundering, the wife and in-laws of John Daly. The golfer's fourth wife, Sherrie, and her parents, Alvis and Billie Miller, were charged last July in an indictment alleging they hid illegal drug profits from the government (SI, Nov. 3). Under their plea agreements, Alvis Miller will serve up to two years in prison, while his wife and daughter received five years' probation and six months of home detention. Sherrie and John, who have a residence in Dardanelle, Ark., live in an RV when they travel to PGA events.