Thursday, December 14, 2017

Writers

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Joe Smith became the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times in 2014. He spent the previous six years splitting time covering the Rays, Bucs and Lightning He joined the Times in 2006 after spending two years with the Modesto Bee in California, where he did everything from covering the Single-A Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team and high school football to tackling first-person stories on whitewater rafting and adventure racing. Smith grew up in the Detroit suburbs and attended the University of Michigan, where he covered the football, basketball and hockey teams for the Michigan Daily. He freelanced for the Associated Press and Detroit Free Press before securing internships at Crain's Detroit Business and the Raleigh News & Observer. An avid runner, Smith loves traveling, bowling and singing karaoke.



St. Louis Blues' Brayden Schenn, left, is unable to score past Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

GLENDALE, Ariz — Nikita Kucherov’s toughest challenge isn’t facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, or Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.It comes in practice against Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top...
Updated: 11 hours ago
The Lightning's Tyler Johnson (9) looks down at the puck as St. Louis Blues' Paul Stastny (26) watches during the first period of Tuesday's game in St. Louis. [AP Photo/Jeff Roberson]

Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

ST. LOUIS — Tyler Johnson hasn’t played very much wing in his career, primarily sticking to his natural center position. But lately, Johnson has been stellar on the right side.Johnson’s assist in Tuesday’s win over the Blues extended his...
Published: 12/13/17
St. Louis Blues' Kyle Brodziak, right,  is unable to score past Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, of Russia, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) MOJR101

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS — This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the...
Published: 12/12/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Blues

Andrei Vasilevskiy might have made the save of the year. With the Lightning leading by one midway through the second, an Alex Steen dump-in took a wild carom off the boards. Vasilevskiiy somehow sprawled out for a right-toe save. Then, on his back,...
Published: 12/12/17
Lightning center Cory Conacher (89) celebrates his goal during the third period of Saturday's (12/2/17) game against the Sharks at Amalie Arena. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times)

Attitude adjusted, Cory Conacher focused on sticking with Lightning

TAMPA — When Cory Conacher was called up a little over a week ago, it looked like it might be for just a one-game cameo.Center Cedric Paquette had been suspended for one game for boarding, and the Lightning, otherwise healthy up front, needed a...
Published: 12/09/17
Lightning center Cory Conacher (89) celebrates his goal during the third period of Saturday's (12/2/17) game against the Sharks at Amalie Arena. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times)

Attitude adjusted, Cory Conacher focused on sticking with Lightning

TAMPA — When Cory Conacher was called up a little over a week ago, it looked like it might be for just a one-game cameo.Center Cedric Paquette had been suspended for one game for boarding, and the Lightning, otherwise healthy up front, needed a...
Published: 12/09/17
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) tries to get a shot off against Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) during first period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (12/07/17).

Steven Stamkos’ toughest rehab leads to his greatest hockey

TAMPA — Steven Stamkos picked up steam near the Lightning blue line early in Thursday’s first period.By the time the captain reached center ice, he was seemingly at warp speed. Stamkos, 27, chasing a Vladislav Namestnikov pass off the boards,...
Published: 12/08/17
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Peter Budaj (31) works to makes short handed breakaway save against Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher (37) with Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) battling to get back in the play after a turn over during second period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (12/07/17).

Lightning tops Avalanche for third straight win

TAMPA — Peter Budaj has been a backup goaltender for around a decade.The 35-year-old is comfortable with the role and how it works. He gets it. It still doesn’t make the job easy. When you play behind the likes of Carey Price, Jonathan Quick —...
Published: 12/07/17
Updated: 12/08/17
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Chris Kunitz (14) celebrates his goal beating Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) as the Bolts go up 2 to 1 during first period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (12/07/17). From left is Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24), defenseman Dan Girardi (5) and Kuntiz.

Lightning journal: Chris Kunitz just doing Kunitz things

TAMPA — According to D Dan Girardi, LW Chris Kunitz was doing what he normally does, and that was being in the right position. So when the puck came around the boards to Girardi and he saw Kunitz going high to the net, all Girardi had to do was...
Published: 12/07/17
Updated: 12/08/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Avalanche game

As much as Chris Kunitz brings grit and leadership to the Lightning, the 38-year-old wing still has a lot of skill, too. He has two goal-scorer’s goals in the past two games, including Thursday’s masterful tip of a Dan Girardi shot. Don’t forget...
Published: 12/07/17