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Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith "excited" to be back with an old teammate

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has said he wanted his new goaltender to battle Mike Smith for the No. 1 job or at the very least push Smith to be better. But Smith said he looks at it more like a reunion of old friends who will combine to make the team better.

"We're both professionals. We both want to win," Smith said from his home in Verona, Ontario. "It's nice having a guy around you can trust and talk to about when things happen. I already texted him and talked to him about the chance to play and push each other to be the best we can be."

Smith and Ellis came up through the Dallas Stars' system and weer teammates in 2005-06 for AHL Iowa, a season Smith said he recalls as one of his best ever.

"We really hit it off and got to know each other," Smith said. "He's just a real good guy, real easy to get along with and a great teammate and a really good professional on the ice."

Smith said they play a similar game.

"He brings a passion to the game and he handles the puck very well and works hard at his game," Smith said. "I'm looking forward to seeing him and getting back together with him."

[Last modified: Saturday, July 31, 2010 12:15am]


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