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If This Idea Really Had Worked, Maybe Lakers Could Hire Ditka

Glen Sather’s return as the Edmonton Oilers’ coach reminds us that in 1981, Peter Pocklington, owner of the NHL team, wanted to dump Sather for Hugh Campbell, then in the midst of coaching the Edmonton Eskimos to five consecutive Grey Cup championships in the Canadian Football League.

Pocklington’s rationale was that dealing with people wasn’t Sather’s strong suit and he was impressed that “Campbell’s people would follow him to the end of the earth. He’s obviously a great coach.”

To deal with Campbell’s lack of hockey experience, Pocklington planned on hiring “a couple of technical guys.”

But Pocklington’s plan never came to fruition. Instead, Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri and Mark Messier helped the Oilers become a dynasty, with Sather coaching the team to four Stanley Cup titles.

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Trivia time: Who were the driving distance leaders in the PGA and LPGA this year?

Full house: At an auction of Texas Ranger memorabilia, Ft. Worth lawyer Jim Shaw paid $1,300 for a 20 x 25-foot picture of Nolan Ryan pitching. When the auctioneer asked what he was going to do with it, Shaw replied, “Build on a room to put it in.”

Amazing: Mark Kriedler of the Sacramento Bee, on the Texas Rangers signing Will Clark to a $30-million contract after losing Rafael Palmeiro with an offer of only $26.5 million: “You couldn’t sound more daft if you had just suggested a Reggie Jackson comeback.”

Fancy headwork: Dale Jarrett, who drives stock cars for former Washington Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs, wears his helmet in the colors of a different NFL team for each Winston Cup race. Asked about the cost of repainting the helmet, Jarrett said, “They’re not repainted. We have 29 different helmets, each with a radio setup.”

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The cost: $450 per helmet.

And 29 helmets? There are only 28 teams in the NFL. The racing team, which makes its home in Charlotte, apparently has included the hometown expansion club, the Carolina Panthers, who won’t begin play until 1995.

Trivia answer: John Daly, 288.9 yards, and Laura Davies, 255.2 yards.

John Daly, take note: Nils Lied, an Australian meteorologist stationed in Antarctica in 1962, drove a golf ball 2,640 yards (1.5 miles) across a sheet of ice.

Quotebook: Coach Bob Weiss, after the Clippers scored only 10 points in the first quarter of a loss to Houston last Saturday: “I thought someone put a cellophane cover on our basket.”


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