TAMPA, Fla. — Bill Belichick knows a thing or two about championships. So with the Bruins just two wins away from earning a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 21 years, it should come as no surprise that the Patriots coach found his way to the Garden to show his support on Monday night.
Belichick, who has attended several Bruins playoff games this spring, showed plenty of support. In fact, he was even chosen as "fan of the game" during the Bruins' 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. Belichick drew more cheers from the Garden faithful when shown on the jumbotron than his fellow finalists — a white-bearded gentleman wearing a pair of foam bear claws and another man dressed as Captain America.
It's probably safe to assume that beating the Rams in Super Bowl XXVI provided a bit more of a challenge, but Belichick still appeared to enjoy this accolade as well, revving up the crowd even further as he waved a Bruins rally towel while being shown on the screen.
Tuesday in Tampa, Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked about the show of support from another member of the Boston coaching fraternity, and whether he would return the favor when the Patriots play their next playoff game. Julien revealed he's already been to Foxboro to cheer on Belichick's boys.
"[I've] been there before," he said at the team's hotel in Tampa. "There's a few more people to go through though."
When asked if Belichick had reached out to personally contact him during this playoff run, Julien replied that Belichick's Garden appearances have been more than enough.
"I think what he's done is reached out to us by doing what he's done," Julien said. "I think coaches understand and I would be the same way. I would never dare call him or any of those guys when they are in the playoffs, but I would certainly be there to show my support, which I did with the Patriots when it was time. And I've done it for the Red Sox, been there quite a few times. And I'm a big fan of those Boston teams, Celtics included.
"I think it's about showing support," Julien added. "You don't need necessarily to talk unless somebody really needs to talk to you, and I think if I reached out to him myself, he'd be more than happy to talk to me."
Maybe that conversation will come in a few weeks, when Julien just might have a shiny new championship ring of his own to bring to the meeting.