Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer

Joe Smith

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.

Phone: (813) 310 9024

Email: joesmith@tampabay.com

Blogs:

Lightning Strikes

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  1. Stamkos deflects speculation of signing with Maple Leafs in future

    Blog

    With LeBron James making the blockbuster decision this month to return home to Cleveland, it sparked continued speculation whether one the biggest NHL stars will make a similar move to play for his hometown team.

    Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, 24, a Markham, Ontario native, will not be an unrestricted free agent until after the 2015-16 season. But Stamkos, at a Coca-Cola ball-hockey promotional event in Toronto Wednesday, was asked whether there would be an allure to signing with the Maple Leafs, the team he grew up watching....

    Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, 24, a Markham, Ontario native, will not be an unrestricted free agent until after the 2015-16 season.
  2. Lightning signs Brett Connoly and Jerome Samson

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning signed forward Brett Connolly to a one-year, two-way contract Thursday.

    Connolly, 22, played in 11 games with the Lightning last season, scoring a goal with four penalty minutes. He led AHL Syracuse in points (57) and assists (36).

    The team also added to its depth at AHL Syracuse, signing free agent forward Jerome Samson to a one-year, two-way deal. Samson, 26, has played in 46 career NHL games, all with the Hurricanes over three seasons. Samson racked up 27 goals and 56 points in 68 games with the St. John's IceCaps in the AHL last season, helping lead them to the Calder Cup final....

  3. Brian Boyle aims to help Lightning reach great heights

    Lightning Strikes

    After a Disney World wedding, Brian Boyle was on the tail end of his honeymoon, having gone from Napa Valley to two Hawaiian islands, when the key date of July 1 hit.

    The former Rangers center got up at 5 a.m., had some coffee and watched the sun rise on the porch of his Maui hotel with his wife, model Lauren Bedford, knowing the opening day of free agency would be hectic.

    Boyle, 29, said he and his wife — who is from Orlando — had always been drawn to Tampa. And when the Rangers didn't give the free agent much of an offer and the Lightning came in, they were excited....

    Brian Boyle, who signed a three-year, $6 million deal with the Lightning, said he passed up more money from Toronto to come to Tampa. [AP photo]
  4. Anton Stralman believes Lightning close to complete

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — New Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman is a huge heavy metal music fan and can string a few tunes himself.

    Stralman, 27, said when he and his wife, Johanna, moved in together in 2005, he had to give up video games, so he decided to buy a guitar for his 19th birthday. He's no Slash, but can play Guns N' Roses' Patience pretty well.

    "I wish I was good, like to think I'm good," Stralman said, smiling. "But it's just not happening."...

    Anton Stralman gives Tampa Bay the right-handed shooting, top-four defenseman it needed, and the team provided the 27-year-old veteran with the desired stability, including a no-trade clause.
  5. Feaster thrilled to be back with Lightning, "hurt" by St. Louis trade

    Blog

    Jay Feaster was proudly wearing his Lightning 2004 Stanley Cup ring Tuesday morning, back in an office at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and admittedly bleeding blue again.

    "I don't know that I've ever stopped," he said.

    Feaster, 51, the former long-time Tampa Bay general manager, was hired to be the executive director of community hockey development, with the job to help grow hockey at the youth/grassroots level. Though Feaster was fired by the Lightning in 2008, most recently working as Calgary's GM until his December departure, he kept his Brandon home....

  6. Stralman says Lightning "close to complete"

    Blog

    New Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman is a huge heavy metal music fan, and can string a few tunes himself.

    Stralman, 27, said when he and his wife Johanna moved in together in 2005, he had to give up video games, so he decided to buy a guitar for his 19th birthday. He’s no Slash, but can play Guns N Roses “Patience” pretty well.

    “I wish I was good, like to think I’m good,” Stralman said, smiling. “But it’s just not happening.”...

    Anton Stralman signed a five-year $22.5 million deal with the Lightning July 1.
  7. Lightning sign Kunyk and Corrente

    Blog

    The Lightning added to its depth at AHL Syracuse Tuesday be signing F Cody Kunyk and D Matt Corrente to one-year, two-way deals.

    Corrente, 26, played in 72 games with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) last season, with two goals and 11 points to go along with 136 penalty minutes. He ranked tied for first on the Checkers for plus/minus with a plus-9 rating. The Mississauga, Ontario native also led all Charlotte skaters for penalty minutes. Corrente set career highs in 2013-14 for games played and plus/minus. The 6-foot, 205-pound defenseman has appeared in 34 career NHL games, all with the New Jersey Devils over parts of two seasons, posting six assists and 68 penalty minutes...

  8. Boyle calls signing with Lightning a "home run"

    Blog

    Brian Boyle was on the tail end of his honeymoon, having gone from Napa Valley to two islands in Hawaii, when the key date of July 1st hit.

    The long-time Ranger got up at 5 a.m., had some coffee on the porch of his Maui hotel with his new bride, model Lauren Bedford, knowing the opening day of free agency would be a hectic one.

    Boyle, 29,, said he and his wife - who is from Orlando - had always been "drawn" to Tampa. And when the Rangers didn't give much of an offer, but the Lightning came in, they were excited....

    Brian Boyle, who signed a three-year, $6 million deal with the Lightning, said he passed up more money from Toronto to come to Tampa.
  9. Lightning officially announce hiring of former GM Feaster

    Blog

    The Lightning officially announced Monday it has brought back former general manager Jay Feaster, who will be the executive director of community hockey development.

    Feaster, 51, the GM for the Lightning's only Stanley Cup team in 2004, will be working with local youth to help grow hockey in the Tampa Bay area. He will oversee and manage the Lightning’s outreach to youth and high school hockey programs and further increase participation and build relationships with local arenas....

    Jay Feaster, the GM for the Lightning's only Stanley Cup team in 2004, will be working with local youth to help grow hockey in the Tampa Bay area.
  10. Top pick Anthony DeAngelo makes good first Lightning impression

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Anthony DeAngelo's draft night celebration lasted until 3 a.m., the defenseman chatting and eating with 25 family and friends at Penrose Diner, a South Philly staple.

    "We were all starving because nobody really (had eaten)," dad Lou said. "Were too nervous."

    DeAngelo, 18, a Sewell, N.J., native, was picked at No. 19 overall by the Lightning on June 28, two spots after his hometown Flyers made their choice in the same Wells Fargo Center he frequented as a kid. "That would have been too easy," Lou joked about a selection by the Flyers....

    Defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, practicing at Lightning development camp in Brandon, gets a good review from 2013 top draft pick Jonathan Drouin: “He’s really smart with the puck and has skill. You can see the potential.”
  11. Jeff Costello, Brendan O'Donnell stand out at Lightning development camp

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — During Sunday morning's shooting practice, F Jeff Costello cracked one of the glass panels at the Ice Sports Forum with a blast.

    "It was funny," he said. "Never done that before."

    Then, LW Brendan O'Donnell helped finish it off, smashing the glass with another shot.

    It was fitting, considering the duo had breakthrough performances during the three-on-three tournament at the Lightning's development camp, helping lead Team Filppula to the championship on the final day Sunday in front of a standing-room-only crowd. ...

    Forward Brendan O’Donnell (left) battles to control the puck against Defenseman Dominik Masin (right) on the ice during practice at the 2014 Lightning Development Camp at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon on Thursday (07/3/14).
  12. Slater Koekkoek ready to make impact with Lightning

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Considering the hard luck D Slater Koekkoek has had with injuries, it would be easy for him to be down.

    But after Koekkoek's past three seasons ended with shoulder surgeries — two on his left, the latest on his right — he and the Lightning have to look on the bright side.

    "The good news is he only has two shoulders," GM Steve Yzerman said. "He can't hurt another one."...

    Defenseman Slater Koekkoek, the 10th overall pick in 2012, has needed shoulder surgery — twice on the left, once on the right — after each of the past three seasons.
  13. Koekkoek ready to put shoulder injuries behind him

    Blog

    Considering the hard-luck D Slater Koekkoek has had with injuries, it’d be easy for him to be down.

    But after Koekkoek’s last three seasons have ended in shoulder surgeries – two on his left, the latest on his right – he and the Lightning have to look on the bright side....

  14. No hard feelings between Lightning prospects Jonathan Drouin, Adam Erne

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — RW Jonathan Drouin and LW Adam Erne's lockers are side by side during this week's Lightning development camp.

    It might be symbolic because there's no friction between the two prospects.

    "We're cool," Erne said at the Ice Sports Forum. "We're friends."

    The duo has moved on since Erne's controversial hit from behind on Drouin in December during a Quebec junior league game. Erne, a Lightning second-round draft pick in 2013 playing for Quebec, shoved Drouin, the No. 3 overall 2013 pick playing for Halifax, into the boards, and Drouin banged his head....

    Lightning prospect Adam Erne, left, gave prospect Jonathan Drouin a concussion with a hit in juniors last year.
  15. Lightning sign Sustr to a one-year, one way deal

    Blog

    The Lightning announced Friday it has signed defenseman Andrej Sustr to a one-year, one-way deal.

    Sustr, 23, was a restricted free agent after playing 43 games for Tampa Bay last season. The 6-foot-99, 225-pound defenseman is expected to start the season with the Lightning, with the team hoping he can take another step with his game.

    Tampa Bay still has to sign fellow restricted free agents Brett Connolly and Richard Panik....