If you have spent any time listening to Vancouver sportstalk radio over the last week, you might be convinced that Byron Bitz is the next Cam Neely rather than another Jeff Cowan. He has already been anointed with the nickname "Lord Byron", prompting me to scream at my radio "come on man!" The two hosts were marvelling at his size, grit, and offensive gifts. With 21 PTS in 90 career GP, this man is the next Todd Bertuzzi, a power forward with unique skills, which is I'm sure why Florida declined to make him a qualifying offer. Now that he seems recovered from his groin, hip, and hernia injuries that sidelined him for all of last season and part of this season, he's ready to be all that Vancouver wants him to be.
You know who Cam Neely is, but you might not remember Jeff Cowan. One game he scored a goal and a woman threw her bra out onto the ice, and the city went bananas for "Cowan the Brabarian". Cowan finished with 11 PTS in 88 games played in a Canucks jersey. He hasn't played in the NHL since, and is currently earning a paycheque in Germany. Vancouver is the same fan base that elected Rory Fitzpatrick to the NHL all-star game, though his NHL career ended 19 games after his 58 game stint with the Nucks. I'm not a Canucks hater, but this is not an entirely rational fan base. They get sucked into irrational hype at the drop of a puck. Is Byron Bitz the next great power forward? I won't hold my breath.