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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


Lightning Strikes

  1. Lightning tops Maple Leafs

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — It's hard for the Lightning not to notice the standings.

    There has been a dry erase board with updated point totals in its home locker room the past couple of weeks as Tampa Bay jostles for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference. But captain Steven Stamkos made one thing clear:

    "It's pretty much up in our hands where we finish," Stamkos said.

    And with a second straight victory, 4-2 over the Maple Leafs on Thursday night at Amalie Arena, the Lightning pulled within one point of Atlantic Division-leading Montreal, pending its late result against the Kings....

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison (5) battles for the puck while down on the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening  (03/05/15).
  2. Namestnikov takes advantage of Lightning callup

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning rookie C Vladislav Namestnikov wasn't expecting Wednesday's callup, brought in on an emergency basis to fill in for injured J.T. Brown.

    But whether Namestnikov, 22, is here for just Thursday's game against the Maple Leafs or longer, he was excited for another shot.

    "Every time I come up, I want to prove that I belong here," he said. "I'm going to try to contribute more and play my game."...

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov (90) celebrates his third-period goal, which ends up the winner against the Maple Leafs.
  3. Namestnikov gets "big opportunity," Brown day-to-day


    Lightning rookie center Vladislav Namestnikov wasn't expecting Wednesday's call-up, brought in on an emergency basis to fill in for injured J.T. Brown.

    But whether Namestnikov, 22, is here for just Thursday's game, or longer, he's excited for another shot.

    "It's a big opportunity for me," Namestnikov said. "Just have to come up here and play my game. It's nice to be here for sure."...

  4. Follow our ScribbleLive for Lightning-Maple Leafs tonight


    After some success last week, the Times will be adding to our Lightning coverage tonight by doing a ScribbleLive stream for the Tampa Bay-Toronto game at Amalie Arena.

    Starting at 6:30 p.m., we'll be bringing you tweets, photos from our Dirk Shadd (@dirkshadd), analysis from the game, with videos and reaction post-game.

    Follow us here at the link below, and feel free to use the comment section to become part of the ScribbleLive yourself! As always, I'll be on Twitter @TBTimes_JSmith too....

  5. Lightning acquires Braydon Coburn; trades Radko Gudas, Brett Connolly

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman didn't sleep much Sunday night, the eve of the trade deadline.

    "Couple hours," Yzerman said. "Up late, up early."

    That was because Yzerman struck two separate deals — contingent on each other — before sunrise to land the veteran defenseman the Lightning needed for a deeper playoff run. And Yzerman felt he did so without "mortgaging a lot of our future."...

    After breaking in with the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2005-06 season, defenseman Braydon Coburn has spent the past eight-plus seasons in Philadelphia and was the Flyers’ longest-tenured player.
  6. Lightning-Sabres preview capsule

    Lightning Strikes

    The price for Braydon Coburn, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-shot defenseman, was steep, Tampa Bay giving up injured defenseman Radko Gudas along with first and third round picks in 2015. [AP photo]
  7. Trades make for "bittersweet" day for Lightning players


    Lightning veteran defenseman Matt Carle woke up Monday morning to text messages from a shocked Radko Gudas, who found out in the middle of the night he was traded to the Flyers.

    "As good as a buddy Gudy was, it was hard to see him go," Carle said.

    But then, Carle, realized another good friend, former Flyers teammate Braydon Coburn, was coming to Tampa Bay as part of the deal (which also sent a first and third round pick to Philly). Coburn, 30, a veteran defenseman, fulfilled Tampa Bay's major need for a playoff push....

  8. Yzerman: Trade gives Lightning better chance in playoffs


    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman didn't sleep much Sunday night.

    "Couple hours," Yzerman said. "Up late, up early."

    That's because Yzerman worked through the night to swing two separate deals - that were contingent on another - to land the veteran defenseman the Lightning needed for its deeper playoff run without "mortgaging a lot of our future." Yzerman acquired Braydon Coburn from the Flyers, admitting he paid a "premium" in shipping injured defenseman Radko Gudas, a first and third round pick in this year's draft....

    Steve Yzerman acquired Braydon Coburn from the Flyers, admitting he paid a "premium" in shipping injured defenseman Radko Gudas, a first and third round pick in this year's draft.
  9. Braydon Coburn excited for 'new beginning' with Lightning


    Defenseman Braydon Coburn knows trade rumors are part of playing in Philadelphia, so he had his phone off as he went to sleep the eve of the deadline.

    It wasn't until his wife, Nadine, woke up at 6:30 a.m to tend to their one-and-a-half year-old son Blair that she told her husband to check his phone. Coburn, 30, had been traded to Tampa Bay.

    "I was a little surprised, I was kind of shocked," Coburn said in a phone interview. "I understand it's part of the business. But it's a big new beginning for me. I'm excited."...

    The Lightning was searching for a veteran defenseman, and got one in Braydon Coburn, the longest tenured Flyer who has played in 614 NHL games, including 72 in the playoffs.
  10. Lightning trade Connolly and Gudas, acquire Coburn


    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman got a veteran defenseman he was looking for, but it took some late night deals, and parting with a couple players off his regular roster to do it.

    And Yzerman may not be done, with the deadline at 3 p.m. Monday.

    Tampa Bay traded former first-round pick Brett Connolly to the Bruins for a second-round pick this year and a second-round pick in 2016. The Lightning also acquired Flyers veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn, a left-handed shot, for injured defenseman Radko Gudas, a first and third-round pick....

    The Flyers' Braydon Coburn checks the Columbus Blue Jackets' Alexander Wennberg into the boards during a game last month in Philadelphia.
  11. Lightning players okay if no trade made

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Empty-handed as of late Sunday, the Lightning was going to be working until today's 3 p.m. trade deadline to see if it could find the veteran defenseman it has been searching for.

    Though GM Steve Yzerman has called the chance of a trade "50-50," trade prices continued to be very high Sunday, with the Rangers sending touted forward prospect Anthony Duclair and a 2016 first-round draft pick for Coyotes D Keith Yandle. ...

    NO YOU DON’T: Panthers goalie Al Montoya, who has 20 saves, stops a shot by the Lightning’s Brett Connolly during the first.
  12. Lightning falls to Panthers

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Captain Steven Stamkos minced no words when it came to his disappointment following Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Panthers.

    "It's not acceptable," Stamkos said. "You're not going to win any games in this league playing like that."

    Sure, the score looks respectable because the Lightning showed its trademark fight in scoring twice in the third period to pull within one. But coach Jon Cooper said the game should have never come to that, with a spotty, sloppy effort in the second period digging too deep a hole....

    Tampa Bay Lightning’s defenseman Anton Stralman, left, works to prevent a shot or pass by  Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov during the second period Sunday night in Sunrise.
  13. Lightning players confident even if no trade


    Just like everyon else, the Lightning players are waiting to see what general manager Steve Yzerman does before Monday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.

    Yzerman is hoping to add a veteran defenseman, saying it's a "50-50" chance. Like captain Steven Stamkos said, every team could use another piece or two to help down the stretch, but Tampa Bay believes it can contend if it stands pat.

    "Every team I've been on, you're happy with your group," said veteran wing Brenden Morrow said. "As much as you try to stay away from reading articles, we've heard if there's a veteran defenseman out there, with the injuries we've had, we could make a trade. And we'd be happy to have that. But all we can really control is what happens on the ice. It's not up to us what goes in, what goes out. But we're happy with our group, we're confident with our group."...

  14. Yzerman: Lightning won't trade just to trade

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — With the trade deadline looming Monday, the Lightning would still like to add a veteran defenseman, preferably a right-handed shot.

    Whether a deal comes to fruition remains to be seen.

    "It's 50-50," general manager Steve Yzerman said Saturday.

    But with the asking prices pretty high so far — veteran Andrej Sekera went for a conditional first-round draft pick and a prospect — Yzerman isn't desperate enough to pay more than he's comfortable with....

    Tampa Bay might be among several teams looking at 27-year-old Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry, left.
  15. Lightning-Panthers capsule preview

    Lightning Strikes


    Lightning at Panthers

    When/where: 5, BB&T Center, Sunrise

    TV/radio: Sun Sports; 970-AM

    Key stats: The Panthers are battling for their playoff lives, just behind Boston for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. … They have been busy making deals, acquiring veteran wing Jaromir Jagr and shipping out forwards Sean Bergenheim (Wild) and Tomas Fleischmann (Ducks). … The Panthers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Sabres on Saturday. … This is the first meeting since the Lightning won 3-2 in overtime on opening night, Oct. 9 in Tampa. … Florida's special teams have struggled. Its power play entered Saturday 27th (15.3 percent) and penalty kill 24th (79.7). … Lightning G Ben Bishop, expected to start, is 5-0-0 with a 1.89 goals-against average in five career starts vs. Florida....