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Hossa, Heatley prosper in their new homes

Seldom does a hockey trade work out as well for both teams, not to mention fantasy owners, as the Marian Hossa for Dany Heatley deal.

Hossa, a right wing, and defenseman Greg de Vries came to the Atlanta Thrashers from the Ottawa Senators Aug. 23 for left wing Heatley. For Heatley, Atlanta offered too many painful reminders of the car accident he was involved in that took the life of ex-teammate Dan Snyder.

Both Hossa and Heatley have re-established themselves as elite scorers in the NHL -- averaging well over a point a game. They meet for the second of four matchups this season on Thursday at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place.

In the first game, an 8-3 Atlanta victory on Jan. 2 in Philips Arena, Heatley -- the NHL rookie of the year as a Thrasher in 2001-02 -- drew boos every time he touched the puck. But he scored a goal with 6:37 remaining, giving him at least one point in eight straight games. That streak reached nine.

Hossa had two goals and an assist, a plus-4 rating and was named the game's first star. He figured in three of the game's first four goals, all scored by Atlanta. De Vries added a goal but the big scorer of the night was former Buffalo Sabre Vyacheslav Kozlov with three goals and a helper.

Elsewhere in the NHL:

*New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur will be glad to welcome back the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night in the Meadowlands. Brodeur lost a 1-0 overtime game on Jan. 26, when he made 32 saves. But in his career, Brodeur is 22-12-5 against the Lightning with four shutouts and a superb 1.96 goals-against average.

*The Sabres and Montreal Canadiens meet Tuesday at the Bell Centre and Thursday at HSBC Arena. They've split four games, with Buffalo taking the last two. Defenseman Brian Campbell had two goals and three assists in the two Sabres wins.

>Kings of the court

Ever since the New York Knicks traded for Stephon Marbury on Jan. 6, 2004, the argument has raged. Who's the region's best point guard, Marbury or the New Jersey Nets' Jason Kidd?

On the court, it's Kidd. His Nets have won eight of the nine head-to-head meetings since the trade, including a playoff sweep in April 2004. On the stat sheet, Marbury gets the nod.

Marbury has averaged 22.8 points, 6.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals against the Nets since the deal, three times topping 30 points. Kidd averages 16.9 points, 6.8 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals. The Nets host the Knicks Wednesday night.

>A-plus for A-Rod

The Sporting News Fantasy Baseball Owners Manual says the first three picks in the 2006 fantasy draft should go: 1 -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez; 2 -- St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols; 3 -- Anaheim Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero.

They rate 20-year-old Tampa Bay outfielder Delmon Young, who last September said the Devil Rays were reluctant to promote him because the organization is cheap, as their top fantasy prospect.


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