Karsums Returns North, Bitz Receives First Career Call-Up

Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins, in their 17th season in the American Hockey League, announced that the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins have recalled forwards Martins Karsums and Byron Bitz from Providence. Both will be available for this afternoon's game between Boston and the Carolina Hurricanes at the TD Banknorth Garden. With the moves, the P-Bruins have 22 players on their roster, including 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders.

Karsums, 22, returns to Boston, where he appeared in his first career NHL contest on December 13, 2008, going scoreless against the Atlanta Thrashers. In his lone NHL action, the third-year pro enjoyed 10 shifts for 8:52 minutes of ice-time, skating mostly with former Providence linemate Vladimir Sobotka. Karsums finished with a minus-one rating and was returned to the P-Bruins following the game.

Karsums paces the Atlantic Division-leading P-Bruins with 39 points, including a club-best 16 goals to go along with 23 assists in 38 games. Of his 39 points, 20 have come on the power play (9g, 11a), which is tied for fourth in the AHL. Karsums' overall points total is good for an eighth-place tie in the league. The alternate captain has registered five point-streaks of at least three games this year, nine multiple-point outings, and he notched his 100th career point with a goal on October 12, 2008 against the Springfield Falcons. On Wednesday, Karsums was named a reserve for the PlanetUSA team at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications, marking his first career All-Star selection.

Karsums posted career-highs with 20 goals, 43 assists and 63 points in 79 games for the P-Bruins in 2007-08. He added another 10 points, including seven goals, in 10 playoff contests before recording three points in two games for Latvia in the IIHF World Championships.

In his career, Karsums has totaled 49 goals, 88 assists and 137 points in 172 games. Prior to turning pro, the native of Riga, Latvia, suited up for three seasons for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Karsums was drafted by Boston 64th overall in round two of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Bitz, 24, receives his first career NHL call-up after beginning the season with 10 points (3g, 7a) and 68 penalty minutes in 37 games for Providence. He has two multiple-point games on the year and has earned four third star honors.

The second-year pro tallied 27 points (13g, 14a) in 61 games as a rookie for the P-Bruins in 2007-08, twice putting together three-game scoring runs. Bitz also appeared in 10 playoff contests for Providence a year ago, recording a goal and an assist.

Prior to turning pro, Bitz played four seasons for the Cornell University Big Red, captaining the team as a senior. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native registered 88 points (28g, 60a) and 155 PIM in 124 collegiate games for Cornell. Bitz was drafted by Boston 107th overall in round four of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Providence Bruins season tickets, Flex Tix packages and single game tickets are on sale now for the 2008-09 season. To purchase tickets or to learn more information, call the P-Bruins ticket office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at providencebruins.com.