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

link
  1. Lightning brings high expectations into this season

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman spent a couple of days last week in New York getting peppered with questions during the NHL's media tour.

    There were hours of interviews, spanning all kinds of national outlets and television stations, but Hedman found a common theme.

    "A lot of people are noticing us right now," Hedman said. "They think we've got a lot of good talent on the team. There were a lot of questions about the upcoming season and what we'll be like."...

  2. Lightning beat Bruins 3-2 in overtime of prospect tournament

    Blog

    Defenseman Kodie Curran is definitely not one of the more high-profile prospects for the Lightning in this weekend's tournament in Nashville....

  3. Lightning prospects see what success looks like

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat on the wall at the facility for the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.

    Crunch coach Rob Zettler calls it a great story and motivational message; how the two made the big jump from the Crunch to Tampa Bay last year and became finalists for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie.

    "All of us look up to them," said forward Cameron Darcy, the Lightning's seventh-round pick in June who hopes to play for Syracuse this season. "I'm trying to work hard and, hopefully, follow that step."...

  4. Former Lightning wing Ryan Malone signs with Rangers

    Blog

    Former Lightning wing Ryan Malone got the second chance he was looking for Thursday, signing a one-year, two-way deal with the Rangers. His NHL salary is $700,000, his AHL salary $100,000.

    "I am willing to do whatever it takes," Malone said. "This is a great team."

    Malone, 34, was bought out by Tampa Bay in June, his season effectively ending after his April arrest in Tampa on charges of DUI and cocaine possession. He pleaded no contest to the DUI charge last month and will enter a pretrial diversion program to settle the drug charge....

  5. NHL rule changes include no more spin-o-rama

    Blog

    The NHL announced several new rule changes for this upcoming season, including outlawing the spin-o-rama move for shootouts and penalty shots.

    Other changes, per the league:

    *The trapezoid will be expanded by two feet from the goal post on both sides
    of the net.

    *A new Game Misconduct category will be created. Clipping, charging, elbowing, interference, kneeing, head-butting and butt-ending move from the general category into the same category as boarding and checking from behind (“Physical Fouls”), whereby a player who incurs two such game misconducts in this category would now be automatically suspended for one game....

  6. Lightning Fan Fest set for Sept. 27

    Blog

    Lightning announced Wednesday that its Fan Fest will be held Sept. 27 at Amalie Arena.

    The event, which begins at 10 a.m. and is free to the public, will include the opportunity to watch scrimmages from noon until 12:45 p.m. Half the Lightning players will sign autographs for 45 minutes on the concourse at 1:15 p.m. and other half from 2-2:45 p.m.

    Fans can also have a chance to receive discounted prices on food and beverages from concession stands inside Amalie Arena. The Lightning Kids Zone will be available for young fans....

  7. For Lightning's Drouin this shapes up as a big camp

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — For Jonathan Drouin, he says one year makes a really big difference.

    You can see it in his build, the 19-year-old rookie wing arriving in tremendous shape, a product of his six-days-a-week summer workouts in Montreal.

    You can see it on the ice, with Drouin dazzling during Tuesday's 4-on-4 scrimmage at the Lightning's informal workouts, beating veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on a breakaway goal....

    Jonathan Drouin, 19, has already impressed veterans after showing up a week ahead of Thursday’s reporting date.
  8. Prospect Adam Erne not yet cleared for contact

    Blog

    Lightning forward prospect Adam Erne arrived Tuesday and participated in the informal skate/scrimmage with his teammates.

    But Erne, who had left wrist surgery in early July, said he still hasn't been cleared for contact, and is unsure of his status heading into this weekend's prospect tournament.

    "I honestly have no clue," Erne said.

    Erne said he hopes to find out more on Thursday, when the rookies are scheduled to report and take their physicals. But Erne has been encouraged how rehab has gone with the wrist, an injury that bothered him last season with the Quebec Remparts....

  9. Drouin: "I want to be on this club"

    Blog

    For Jonathan Drouin, he says one year makes a really big difference.

    You can see it in his build, the 19-year-old rookie wing arriving in tremendous shape, a product of his six-days-a-week summer workouts in Montreal.

    You can see it on the ice, with Drouin dazzling during Tuesday’s 4-on-4 scrimmage at the Lightning’s informal workouts, beating veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on a breakaway goal....

  10. Goalie Leland Irving gets invite to training camp

    Blog

    The Lightning is already loaded at the goaltender position, but will have another one in training camp, as former first-round pick Leland Irving is coming on a tryout invite, according to general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Irving, the 26th overall pick by Calgary in 2006, will join the rest of the team when it reports to Amalie Arena when camp opens Sept. 18.

    Irving, 26, played last season with Jokerit in the Finnish Elite league, going 23-18-12 with a 2.14 goals against average and a .922 save percentage in 55 games. He played in 13 games with Calgary with a 3-4-4 record and 3.25 G.A.A.....

  11. Lightning G Ben Bishop confident he'll be healthy in time for season

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — While Lightning goalie Ben Bishop said his surgically repaired right wrist likely won't be 100 percent by training camp next week, he expects to be ready for the season.

    "I don't think that will be a problem," Bishop said after Monday's informal skate at the Ice Sports Forum. "The wrist is better, still needs a bit more work, but it's getting there."

    Bishop, 27, had surgery in April on a torn ligament, but after a summer of rehab he has faced shots the past three weeks including Monday. He said his range of motion is almost back....

    Ben Bishop had surgery in April to repair a torn ligament in his wrist. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  12. Malone skates with Rangers, publicly aplogizes to Lightning

    Blog

    It looks like former Lightning wing Ryan Malone may get a second chance.

    Malone, 34, bought out by Tampa Bay in June, joined the Rangers in their informal workouts today, with plans for contract talks to begin this week.

    Last month, Malone pleaded no contest to DUI charges and agreed to a pretrial diversion program on a drug charge. He had been arrested in April in Tampa after striking a curb while driving; his blood alcohol level was later tested as .112, and cops found 1.3 grams of cocaine in Malone's pocket. The felony charge of cocaine possession will be dismissed if Malone successfully completes the program...

    Ryan Malone, bought out by Tampa Bay in June, joined the Rangers in their informal workouts today, with plans for contract talks to begin this week.
  13. Bishop expects to be ready for season

    Blog

    There wasn't room for much fun this summer for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, who has been rehabbing from April right wrist surgery.

    "I played two rounds of (golf) a couple weeks ago and it was probably my best day of the summer," Bishop said. "Other than that, it's been pretty unevenful."

    But the work has paid off, as Bishop, 27, said his wrist is progressing well, and while it likely won't be 100-percent by the time training camp starts Sept. 18, he expects he'll be ready for the season....

    Ben Bishop said his wrist is progressing well, and while it likely won't be 100-percent by the time training camp starts Sept. 18, he expects he'll be ready for the season.
  14. Lightning's Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman hope for a Swede pairing

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — New Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said he didn't know fellow Swede Victor Hedman well before signing this summer.

    Stralman, 28, played with Hedman's older brother Oscar, 28, in the World Junior Championships, but he met Victor only a few times.

    However, when Stralman joined Hedman, 23, last week for the team's informal skates at the Ice Forum, he said they had quick-developing chemistry....

    Swedes Victor Hedman (above) and free agent signee Anton Stralman are developing a rapport in informal skates.
  15. Stamkos: 'I definitely want to win here'

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Even Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had to laugh.

    It didn't take long during Stamkos' first meeting of the season with the local media Thursday for the Tweets That Took Over Toronto to get brought up.

    "I didn't think I'd have to answer those questions down here," Stamkos said, smiling.

    Stamkos, 24, spends his summers in his hometown near Toronto, so he's used to stories getting "blown out of proportion," as he puts it. But when Stamkos accidentally, he said, favorited a couple of Twitter posts this summer that referred to him possibly returning to play for the Maple Leafs when he becomes a free agent in two years, it created a stir....

    Steven Stamkos, drafted No. 1 overall by the Lightning in 2008 and now the face of the franchise, made it clear he's very happy where he is. [DIRK SHADD | Times]