Kraft to Hightower: 'We don't trade up too often'


Kraft to Hightower: 'We don't trade up too often'

We're all well-aware of the Patriots' drafting ways over the years: stock picks, only to trade them away until the next season.

But that didn't happen this time around -- quite the opposite actually. They traded up for Syracuse DE Chandler Jones, and then again for Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

Mind. Blown.

Consider the moves a bit of a pleasant surprise to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, too. Kraft was obviously in the war room with other Patriots front office staff, and got on the phone with Hightower shortly after the decision was made.

In typical Kraft form, he notes something about Hightower that won't show up in the stat sheet, while also letting him in on a well-known secret about the organization.

"Dont'a, welcome. It's great to have you as a Patriot," Kraft said to Hightower, in a video posted by "I know you were Captain of the Crimson Tide for two years. What I love in reading reports about you is how respectful you are of your mother. It really means a lot. It says something about the kind of guy you are. I know that Alabama Coach Nick Saban praised you. So we're excited to have you up here. We don't trade up too often. So I look forward to meeting you and seeing you here."

Hightower is set to be at Gillette Stadium in the "Place that Kraft Built" Friday. Chances are he'll be more impressed with Kraft, than Kraft is with him.

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.