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Bitz Up Second

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Boston Bruins' Byron Bitz, left, scores on Buffalo Sabres' Jhonas Enroth, of Sweden, in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
By Glenn Odebralski for

Talk about getting thrown in the fire in your first game.

Acquired from Boston at the trade deadline Wednesday, forward Byron Bitz will suit up and skate on the second line when the Panthers take on the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow at the BankAtlantic Center.

Going through an hour-and-a-half long workout at incredible ICE with his teammates, Bitz was on a line with Steven Reinprecht and Cory Stillman.

"He gives those two guys some size. He gives them some speed. He gives them a guy that's going to go in and create some turnovers on the forecheck," said head coach Peter DeBoer. "Those guys have to play with somebody with size and speed.

"We tried Dvorak there and I think we had some limited success with that so we'll try him there and hopefully its a fit."

Bitz is thrilled about the opportunity to show off his skills and get involved with his new team right away.

"I'm excited to get out there tomorrow," said Bitz. "Those are two veteran guys. They've been really helpful today with the little changes in the system and I'm just really excited and looking forward to it."

Looking for someone to be able to play with Reinprecht and Stillman, DeBoer is willing to try out the new addition to see if they can get some chemistry going. That way they can get another line working, besides the Stephen Weiss, Michael Frolik and David Booth line.

"Those guys are smart players," said DeBoer. "Both those guys are veteran guys. They've got some poise with the puck but they need complimentary players with them and that's what we're looking for. We've been trying to find people to play with them all year and hopefully this is the answer."

The Panthers could definitely use the offense, especially against a team like the Hurricanes. Carolina, comes into the game having won seven straight.

"Maybe the hottest team in the league. It will be a great test," said DeBoer. "I thought they really outplayed us in Carolina last time we were there just before the Olympic break. We have to show up. We know what to expect and we've got to get a win."
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