“Hey, remember...?” is a lighthearted look back at some of the lesser-known former Bruins we’ve seen pass through these parts in recent years. Some of you truly hate it more than anything else on Earth, but others of you take things far less seriously. That’s the way to do it, but I digress.
They might not have been stars and might not be the first guys you’d think of as “former Bruins,” but they’ve all got unique stories.
Who? Byron Bitz
When did he play here? 2008-2010
What were his stats? 85 GP, 9G, 9A, 18PTS
What happened after the Bruins? Lord Byron Pt. 2 was sent to Florida, where he played a handful of games before finishing his career in Vancouver.
There are few things that Bruins fans like more than big dudes who hit. Cam Neely, Milan Lucic...obviously these guys had skills beyond physicality, but their rough-and-tumble style is what initially endeared them to the Garden faithful.
In early 2009, a big kid from Sakatchewan came onto the scene for the Bruins and began the “physical” his way into Bruins fans’ hearts.
Byron Bitz was drafted by the Bruins in 4th round in 2003, 107th overall. He played his college hockey at Cornell, meaning he was undoubtedly Andy Bernard’s favorite NHL player.
At Cornell, Bitz was known as a rugged guy who could also put up points. He captained the Big Red in his senior season, after which he joined the Providence Bruins.
Bitz received an NHL call-up shortly after New Year’s Day in 2009. He played mainly on the fourth line, but earned the love of Bruins fans for his willingness to throw his 6’ 5” frame around with reckless abandon.
He scored one of the most hilarious first NHL goals of all-time. He thought Mark Stuart’s shot had gone in, and kind of half-heartedly tapped the puck into the net. It ended up being his first NHL goal, and he barely even celebrated.
He did something else that endeared him to B’s fans: he dropped the gloves.
Take a look at the HockeyFights.com page for Bitz, and you’ll see some eye-popping names: Bitz fought guys like Matt Carkner, Deryk Engelland and Donald Brashear...not exactly push-overs.
However, the marquee moment for Lord Byron Bitz came on February 24, 2009.
In that game, the rolling Bruins pasted Florida by a score of 6-1. In that game, the bruising rookie scored twice. With the Bruins up big late, the Garden crowd decided he deserved a shot at the hat trick:
That ended up being the high point for his NHL career, unfortunately.
Bitz was decently steady in 45 games for the Bruins in 2010, but wasn’t able to get a stranglehold on a lineup spot.
In the summer of 2010, Bitz played a role in a pretty big trade: he was sent to the Florida Panthers with Craig Weller and a second-round pick for Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowksi.
Seidenberg obviously played a pretty big role on the team that would win the Cup the following season. Thanks, Byron!
After arriving in Florida, the injury bug derailed Bitz’ career. He suffered a sports hernia that cost him a season, and ultimately cost him his spot on the Panthers’ roster.
Bitz would finish his career in Vancouver the following season, playing in 10 games for the Canucks in 2011-2012.