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BRIERE, BIRON, SIX OTHER SABRES FILE FOR ARBITRATION

Leading scorer Daniel Briere and goaltender Martin Biron headline a group of eight Buffalo Sabres who have elected to file for salary arbitration, the most of any team in the NHL.

Hearings are scheduled for Aug. 1-15.

Forwards J.P. Dumont and Jochen Hecht, defensemen Rory Fitzpatrick, Brian Campbell and Brad Brown, and goaltender Mika Noronen also filed.

Biron, who received a qualifying offer of $2.42 million two weeks ago, was 26-18-5 last season with a 2.52 goals-against average while Briere registered 28 goals and a career-high 65 points.

Dumont accumulated a career-high 53 points for the Sabres last season, making $1.4 million.

Forwards Maxim Afinogenov and Mike Grier, as well as defenseman Henrik Tallinder, declined their right to arbitration. Grier was acquired in a trade from Washington in March. Tallinder is reportedly close to signing a one-year deal.

Others around the league who were among a record 67 that filed for arbitration were Joe Thornton of the Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara of the Ottawa Senators, Scott Niedermayer of the New Jersey Devils and Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames.

Danton pleads guilty

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- Former St. Louis Blues player Mike Danton admitted Friday that he sought to have his agent killed as part of a plot that unraveled when the would-be hit man turned out to be a police informant.

Danton pleaded guilty to a federal murder-for-hire conspiracy charge and could face seven to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines when he is sentenced Oct. 22.

"Obviously, this is what I think is a good result," prosecutor Stephen Clark said. "I think it's a fair deal."

Danton, 23, was to have been tried in September with co-defendant Katie Wolfmeyer, 19. He and Wolfmeyer, a college student from a St. Louis suburb, faced identical conspiracy charges, with Wolfmeyer accused of trying to hire the would-be killer of Danton's agent, David Frost.

The would-be killer -- identified by the government for the first time in court Friday as Justin Jones, a Columbia, Ill., police dispatcher -- eventually went to police, and Frost was unharmed.

The prosecutor told the judge that Danton had promised to pay Jones $10,000 to kill Frost and make it appear like a botched burglary.

Danton has been jailed since his arrest April 16 in San Jose, Calif., a day after the San Jose Sharks eliminated the Blues from the playoffs.

Wolfmeyer has pleaded innocent and is to be tried in September. Her lawyers have said she was a naive young woman simply smitten with an athlete who ultimately manipulated her.

Thrashers' Heatley indicted

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley was indicted Friday on vehicular homicide and five other charges in the 2003 wreck that claimed the life of a teammate.

Police estimated that Heatley was driving his black Ferrari convertible between 60 and 90 mph on a curved road in a residential area when it ran into a brick pillar and iron fence on Sept. 29, 2003.

Dan Snyder, 25, died after several days in a coma, and Heatley broke his jaw and tore two ligaments in his knee. He returned to play with the team in January.

Heatley, the MVP of the 2003 National Hockey League All-Star Game, was in Canada on Friday preparing for the upcoming season, the team said, and was unavailable for comment.

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