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. Jonathan Drouin feels excitement after Lightning debut

    Lightning Strikes

    CALGARY — Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin said he received several congratulatory messages after making his NHL debut Monday night. He heard from family, friends, as well as coaches spanning from his junior and midget teams.

    "It was exciting," Drouin said. "You dream about it since you're young to play here. And to play in Canada, too, is something special."

    Drouin, 19, said he found out about five hours before Monday's 3-2 loss to the Oilers that he'd play, thanks to an upper-body injury suffered by wing Alex Killorn during the morning skate. Drouin, the No. 3 overall pick in 2013, admitted he was nervous as he came out for warmups at the raucous Rexall Place, but settled in after a few shifts....

    Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin skates during the warmup before his first NHL game on Monday against the Oilers in Edmonton.
  2. Dinged-up Lightning recalls forward Mike Blunden

    Lightning Strikes

    CALGARY — With the Lightning losing two top-six forwards to injury Monday, it recalled RW Mike Blunden on Tuesday from Syracuse of the American Hockey League.

    LW Alex Killorn (upper body) was day to day after taking a scary spill into the boards during Monday's morning skate. RW Ryan Callahan (lower body), who left Monday's 3-2 loss to Edmonton in the second period, will likely be out longer. Coach Jon Cooper first called Callahan week to week then clarified....

    Tampa Bay Lightning's Alex Killorn celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck) VCRD122
  3. Lightning recall Blunden from Syracuse, Gudas to IR

    Blog

    With the Lightning losing two wings to injury Monday, it called up forward Mike Blunden Tuesday from AHL Syracuse.

    While Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Marchessault were also options, Blunden, at 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, brings some needed size for a game tonight against a physical Flames team in Calgary.

    Blunden, 27, has two goals and three assists in four games for the Crunch this season. He's played in 102 career NHL games over parts of seven seasons with the Blackhawks, Canadiens and Blue Jackets, signing with the Lightning July 1....

  4. Lightning loses two forwards plus game to Oilers

    Lightning Strikes

    EDMONTON — Coach Jon Cooper half-jokingly said Monday morning that touted wing prospect Jonathan Drouin was bound to make his anticipated debut soon because his team was running out of bodies at forward.

    Turns out, that was what happened as Drouin was a late add to the lineup against the Oilers after wing Alex Killorn suffered an upper-body injury in the morning skate.

    Drouin, 19, rated the league's top prospect, was as advertised, but the Lightning wasn't in a sloppy 3-2 loss to the Oilers, who picked up their first win of the season....

    Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin, center, makes his NHL debut in Monday’s defeat at Edmonton after being added to the lineup late due to Alex Killorn’s injury. See notebook, 5C
  5. Oilers' Teddy Purcell gets together with old Lightning teammates

    Lightning Strikes

    By JOE SMITH

    Times Staff Writer

    EDMONTON — For wing Teddy Purcell, it felt like old times Sunday afternoon, watching football with most of the Lightning team during lunch.

    But Purcell, 29, is now with the Oilers thanks to a June trade, so he made sure to treat a handful of his former Tampa Bay teammates, including good buddy Steven Stamkos, for dinner in their first night in Edmonton....

    Teddy Purcell (16) watches as Dustin Brown  (23) of the Kings scores past a sprawling Ben Scrivens earlier this month in Los Angeles. [Getty Images]
  6. Jonathan Drouin makes debut for Lightning

    Lightning Strikes

    EDMONTON — Considering how long touted wing prospect Jonathan Drouin had to wait for his NHL debut, it was fitting he got into the lineup at the last minute Monday night.

    Drouin, 19, was called up Sunday from a two-game conditioning assignment with Syracuse in the American Hockey League, but wasn't supposed to play against the Oilers.

    However, LW Alex Killorn suffered an upper body injury in a scary spill into the boards at Monday's morning skate and was a late scratch, thrusting Drouin into action....

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin (27) skates during the warm up before facing off for his first NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton, Alberta., on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Amber Bracken) AKB103
  7. Victor Hedman to miss 4-6 weeks after surgery

    Lightning Strikes

    EDMONTON — Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman will be out 4-6 weeks, after surgery today on a fractured finger in his right hand.

    Hedman, 23, suffered the injury blocking a shot during Saturday's 4-2 win over Vancouver. Though without its top defenseman potentially through November, Tampa Bay feels fortunate as it could have been worse.

    "If it's ligaments, then you have no idea what you're dealing with (in recovery time)," coach Jon Cooper said. "If you're getting clean breaks, that's just a fix it up, stabilize and wait for it to heal and he'll be back. It's just really unfortunate for Heddy because how good a player he's becoming and what a great start he had. But injuries happen and we're going to have to weather the storm for a month."...

    Victor Hedman
  8. Drouin will make NHL debut tonight

    Blog

    Turns out, touted wing prospect Jonathan Drouin will make his NHL debut tonight against the Oilers after all.

    While coach Jon Cooper insisted this morning Drouin would not play, things must have changed due to the status of wing Alex Killorn, who took a scary spill into the boards during today's morning skate. Cooper said Killorn was okay, just got the wind knocked out of him, but the team said Killorn is day-to-day with an upper body injury....

  9. Lightning-Flames preview

    Sports

  10. Purcell says it'll be "weird" to face Lightning

    Blog

    For wing Teddy Purcell, it felt like old times Sunday afternoon, watching football with most of the Lightning team during lunch.

    But Purcell, 29, is now with the Oilers thanks to a June trade, so he made sure to treat 5-6 former Tampa Bay teammates, including good buddy, captain Steven Stamkos, for dinner in their first night in Edmonton.

    "I figured they came to my town,  I had to pay for it," Purcell said, smiling. "So I hope to go to a little bit nicer restaurant in Tampa so Stammer can pay."

    Purcell spent five seasons in Tampa Bay, including racking up a career-high 24 goals in 2011-12. But the Lightning, looking to create cap space heading into free agency (as well as spots in their lineup for young players like Brett Connolly and Jonathan Drouin), traded Purcell to Edmonton for Sam Gagne on July 29th. Purcell carries a $4.5 million cap hit this year and next.

    Purcell said initially the trade came as a "shock." But it started to sink in weeks later when Purcell was packing up in Tampa and new Lightning center Brian Boyle, who took over Purcell's leased place in town, sent him pictures in a thank-you message.

    "That really sunk in, it wasn't mine anymore," Purcell said.

    But Purcell said he and general manager Steve Yzerman had a good conversation the night of the trade.

    "He was really respectful," Purcell said. "They wanted to shed some salary and go after some defensemen and that's what they did. In a salary cap world, that's what happens. But I'm happy to be here and put that behind me. And at the same time, I had five great years in Tampa."...

  11. Drouin won't play tonight

    Blog

    Lightning touted wing prospect Jonathan Drouin willl have to wait another day for his anticipated NHL debut.

    Though Drouin, 19, was recalled Sunday from his conditioning assignment with AHL Syracuse, coach Jon Cooper said he won't play tonight against the Oilers. Cooper said with Drouin playing both Friday and Saturday in Syracuse, and having a long travel day Sunday, they won't rush him into the lineup. He will play on this trip, likely Tuesday in Calgary....

    Touted Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin likely will make his debut Tuesday in Calgary.
  12. Hedman out 4-6 weeks

    Blog

    Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman will be out 4-6 weeks due fractured finger in his right hand.

    Hedman, 23, will have surgery Tuesday, with the Lightning having to play without its top defenseman potentially through November. He suffered the injury during the second period of Saturday's 4-2 win over Vancouver. Tampa Bay felt fortunate in that it could have been worse.

    "If it's ligaments, then you have no idea what you're dealing with," coach Jon Cooper said. "If you're getting clean breaks, that's just a fix it up, stabilize and wiat for it to heal and he'll be back. It's just really unfortunate for Heddy because how good a player he's becoming and what a great start he had. But injuries happen and we're going to have to weather the storm for a month."...

    Victor Hedman will have surgery Tuesday, with the Lightning having to play without its top defenseman potentially through November.
  13. Victor Hedman (hand) could miss a month

    Lightning Strikes

    EDMONTON — Captain Steven Stamkos made one thing clear: The Lightning can't replace Victor Hedman.

    But Tampa Bay will have to try. It will be without its top defenseman for the remaining four games of this trip, and potentially the next month, after Hedman suffered a hand injury in Saturday's 4-2 win over the Canucks. Hedman is back in Tampa getting evaluated. The team on Sunday expected to know more on his status today....

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77), who scored the first goal of the game, on the ice against the Ottawa Senators during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Saturday evening (10/11/14).
  14. Monday night: Lightning-Oilers preview

    Lightning Strikes

  15. Lightning know replacing Hedman a tough task

    Blog

    Captain Steven Stamkos made one thing clear; the Lightning can’t replace Victor Hedman.

    But Tampa Bay will have to try as it will be without its top defensemen for the rest of this road trip, and potentially the next month, after Hedman suffered a hand injury in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Vancouver. Hedman is back in Tampa getting evaluated, with the team expecting to know more on his status Monday....