Kraft on money management: 'Sometimes our fans get upset'

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Kraft on money management: 'Sometimes our fans get upset'

Robert Kraft was up bright an early for a Friday appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box". The Patriots chairman and CEO was joined by guest host Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans.

Kraft was his congenial self, first congratulating McNair on Houston's 2011 playoff run.

"We play you up in New England this season," the Texans owner teased, "and I don't think you'll be as gracious up there as you are now."

Houston will be without one of the best defensive lineman in the league, Mario Williams, for that 2012 tilt after relinquishing his talents to Buffalo.

McNair said it was tough to lose a key contributor like Williams. But that's business.

"What you're seeing happen is that there are a few stars around the league that are going to get a lot of money, and with a salary cap, that just means that there's less money to go around for the rest of the other players," he said.

"I think what this will do ultimately with the new CBA, which Bob Kraft helped on that tremendously, I think what it's going to do, it's going to allow the teams that are in the lower quartile an opportunity to move up faster because with the new rookie salary pool, less money is going to go to rookies. So those teams at the lower level are not penalized with the higher draft pick which would have cost them a lot of money. Now they have more money available to go out and sign other free agents and there will be good free agents out there that won't command the 96 million contracts."

Kraft was nodding in agreement.

Patriots fans -- connected via the emotional rather than financial aspect of the game -- are anxious about New England's perceived free agency failure. Williams was on the wishlist of many, despite how big a price tag he was expected to have. As each offseason hour passes, more big-name free agents re-sign, are traded, or strike agreements elsewhere -- everywhere other than New England, it seems. The team has instead brought in Steve Gregory, Marcus Harrison, and Jonathan Fanene; re-upped Dan Connolly and Matthew Slater.

Fan unrest over the lack of a sexy signing continues to grow, and it's not gone unnoticed by Kraft.

But, again, it's business.

"Bob makes a good point," he said in response to McNair. "When Mario -- and I don't know whether he was paying him 4 million 9 million -- but the point is when someone goes out and pays him 15 million if you paid him that, your team doesn't get better when you do that. I would say your team maybe gets worse because you have less money available for other players.

"And only your personnel people understand the chemistry of how that works. Sometimes our fans get upset. We're faced with a couple decisions like that, too. Both you and I want to see our teams win. It's how we manage the resources available to us that allows us to do that."

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

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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

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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.