Belichick salutes NFL Films' Sabol

Belichick salutes NFL Films' Sabol

By Tom E. Curran

The passing this week of Steve Sabol moved people in all parts of the NFL - owners, coaches, players and the media - to say nothing of what Sabol and his work meant to fans.

I didn't know Steve well but I did speak with him in person or by phone several times. Warm, sincere, interested in listening, and just a deep, intelligent guy whose passion was applied to this game we all love.

In the artist's statement on his website, "Steve Sabol Art", he wrote, "Norman Mailer remarked that all artists tend to be governed by a ruling passion. I regard myself as luck to have been able to discover mine. "

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick - a football historian as well as a decorated coach - trusted Sabol implicitly.

"You cant say enough about Steve and what he has meant tothe National Football League, NFL Films and the game of football," Belichick said on a conference call with the Baltimore media on Wednesday. "I think hehas presented the game in a way that all fans, all of us, enjoy. You can see theexcitement, the entertainment and can laugh at, depending on how its beingpresented. He has done a tremendous job of gaining the trust and confidence ofthe people that he has worked with, which isnt the easiest thing to do, to dowhat he does and get that kind of cooperation.

"I think over the years he hasdeveloped a great level of respect and trust and that says a lot," Belichick added. "I dont thinkthat piece Bill Belichick: A FootballLife would have ever happened without Steve Sabol, to be honest with you.Hes a special man, and he did so much for our game, for the NFL and for thegame of football. Its a sad day. Hes a great man.Belichick granted NFL Films incredible access to do the much-celebrated documentary that was released last year. Normally pretty reserved (to say the least), Belichick explained that, "Once we understood whatwe were doing and everybody was on the same page, we had good lines ofcommunication, so it wasnt really a problem. I think the respect and trust andmutual respect that we had for each other made that a relatively easyundertaking.Sabol made things easy in a difficult line of work

Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders


Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins knew they needed to find stellar performances somewhere in order to come out of a must-win game vs. the Islanders with two points, and they got exactly that.

Riley Nash had his best game as a member of the Bruins with a pair of goals scored in a 2-1 win over the Islanders at the Barclays Center that snapped a four game losing streak, and pushed them back into the wild card playoff spot.

It wasn’t a perfect game for the Black and Gold by any means and it was nip-and-tuck all the way, but it was important for the Bruins to show they could pull out those kinds of games late in the season.

Things didn’t look all that great early when John Tavares cut through the Bruins defense in the first period, and whistled a wrist shot from the high slot that went through Adam McQuaid’s legs before beating Anton Khudobin. The Bruins responded, however, on the very next shift with Nash stealing the puck from Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone, and beating Thomas Greiss short side for the important game-tying goal.

It looked like the Bruins had their go-ahead score in the first period on a second-effort power play goal by Frank Vatrano, but that was wiped out by a coach’s challenge that ruled David Backes interfered with Greiss in front of the New York net.

So the Bruins needed to wait until the third period when Boston’s fourth line stepped up and won the massively important game for Boston. Dominic Moore fed Riley Nash hustling into the offensive zone, and he weaved through the Islanders defense before snapping a shot past Greiss for his second goal of the game and his seventh on the season for the Bruins. 

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Gonzaga beats Xavier 83-59 to reach first Final Four


NCAA TOURNAMENT: Gonzaga beats Xavier 83-59 to reach first Final Four

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points while orchestrating Gonzaga's efficient offense, and the Zags finally shook their overrated tag by routing Xavier 83-59 on Saturday to reach the Final Four for the first time.

Gonzaga (36-1) has been dogged by criticism through the years despite winning consistently, in part for playing in a weak conference but also for never making the Final Four.

On the cusp of history, the Zags took it head on with a superb all-around game to give coach Mark Few the one missing piece of his resume.

Gonzaga found the range from the perimeter after struggling the first three NCAA games, making 12 of 24 from 3-point range. The defense, a soft spot in the past, shut down the underdog and 11th-seeded Musketeers (24-14) to win the West Region.

The Zags will face the winner between South Carolina and Florida in next week's Final Four in Arizona.

J.P Macura led the Musketeers with 18 points.

The Musketeers brought their turn-the-page jar of ashes to the NCAA Tournament, where they burned through a string of upsets to reach their third Elite Eight and first since 2008. They beat Maryland, Florida State and took down No. 2 Arizona in the regional semifinals, setting up a matchup of small Jesuit schools seeking their first Final Four.

The Final Four was the only thing missing on Few's resume, which includes 18 straight NCAA Tournaments, eight trips to the Sweet 16 and a third Elite Eight after surviving West Virginia's constant pressure in the regional semifinals.

The Zags struggled to find an offensive rhythm against the Mountaineers - who doesn't? - but had it flowing against Xavier.

Gonzaga came into the Elite Eight hitting 29 percent of its 3-point shots after making 37 percent during the season. The Zags found the range early against Xavier, hitting 8 of 13 from the arc in the first half, mostly against the Musketeers' zone or on kick-outs from center Przemek Karnowski.

Xavier got off to a good start offensively by working the ball around, but hit a dry spell and made 1 of 5 from 3-point range as Gonzaga stretched to lead to 49-39 by halftime.

Halftime did little to slow the Zags, who pushed the lead to 59-42 on 3-pointers by Williams-Goss and Jordan Mathews. Gonzaga kept the machine rolling in the second half, continuing to make shots while its defense prevented the Musketeers from making any kind of run.