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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
NEWARK, N.J. ó Cross another superstar off the New Jersey Nets’ wish list, and let the pursuit of Carmelo Anthony begin anew.
The megadeal to bring Anthony to New Jersey ended in stunning fashion on Wednesday night when Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov told the team to end the long, drawn-out trade talks with the Denver Nuggets.
“There comes a time when the price is simply too expensive,” Prokhorov said in a news conference before the Nets faced the Utah Jazz. “I am instructing our team to walk away from the deal.”
NHL
NEW YORK ó Marian Gaborik had four goals and an assist three days after being benched and Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves for his seventh shutout of the season and 31st overall in the New York Rangers’ 7-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.
Just a few hours after the Rangers said leading scorer Brandon Dubinsky would be out at least three weeks because of a stress fracture in his left leg, Gaborik picked up the offensive slack.
Gaborik broke out of an eight-game goal drought with two in the first period and two more in the second for his third hat trick of the season. Brian Boyle, Ruslan Fedotenko and Mats Zuccarello also scored.
Blue Jackets 3, Panthers 2, OT
SUNRISE, Fla. ó R.J. Umberger scored on a power play at 4:06 of overtime for Columbus.
Antoine Vermette tied it with 53 seconds left in regulation and Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason off for an extra attacker. Fedor Tyutin also scored, and Mason made 29 saves.
Cory Stillman and David Booth had first-period goals for Florida.
NHL NOTES
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia ó Mike Danton says he wants to return to the NHL more than five years after he was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in the Unites States.
Danton’s parole ends Friday. That will lift his travel restrictions and free him of regular checks with corrections officials. He was released from a U.S. prison in March 2009 following his 2004 conviction in a failed murder-for-hire plot.
The 30-year-old Danton says he recognizes the obstacles to an NHL return. He’s been out of the league for more than six years and teams would be wary of him because of his conviction.
Danton played in the NHL with St. Louis and New Jersey. He now plays for the Saint Mary’s Huskies in Halifax.
PHILADELPHIA ó Philadelphia Flyers center Danny Briere has been named to the NHL All-Star roster, replacing Calgary’s Jarome Iginla.
Briere leads the Flyers with 24 goals and 41 points. Iginla withdrew from the game so he can spend time with his ailing grandmother.
BASEBALL
MINNEAPOLIS ó The mustache isn’t going anywhere.
Carl Pavano and the Twins agreed on a $16.5 million, two-year contract Wednesday night, ensuring the popular right-hander who made the ‘stache cool again in Minnesota will be back to provide stability to the team’s rotation.
NEW YORK ó In a move mirroring those of his famous father, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner overruled general manager Brian Cashman in giving a $35 million, three-year contract to Rafael Soriano.
Distancing himself from the decision after a news conference Wednesday to introduce Mariano Rivera’s new setup man, Cashman said he didn’t think it was worth playing closer money for a pitcher the team plans to use in the eighth inning.
SAN DIEGO ó The San Diego Padres and reliever Chad Qualls have agreed to a $2.55 million, one-year contract.
NFL
INDIANAPOLIS ó Colts owner Jim Irsay is willing to make Peyton Manning the highest-paid player in football. Bob Sanders may have to take a pay cut to stay with the Colts.
Agent Tom Condon represents both Manning and Sanders and is preparing for the likelihood of redoing Sandersí deal, too. Sanders signed a $37.5 million contract after the 2007 season but has played in only nine regular-season games since.
GOLF
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates ó Phil Mickelson made his first trip to the Middle East in an effort to improve upon his 2010 season.
The Masters champion will start his season today at the Abu Dhabi Championship.
“My goal this year is to have the year I expected 2010 to be. With the exception of the Masters, it wasn’t the year I had hoped for,” Mickelson said Wednesday.

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