Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer

Joe Smith

Joe Smith covers the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Bucs for the Tampa Bay Times. 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, 26, 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, pizza and checking out local bands.

Phone: (813) 310 9024



Bucs Beat

The Heater

  1. To score, Lightning learns it must shoot

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The Lightning was efficient in one way Wednesday, scoring four goals on its 16 shots in regulation.

    But that type of shooting percentage likely won't hold up over a series against acclaimed Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.

    "At the end of the day, you're not going to score too many goals on Carey Price if you don't take enough shots," Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer said....

    Right wing J.T. Brown and the rest of the Lightning know they need to put more shots on  Canadiens goalie Carey Price than the 16 they did in regulation in Game 1’s 5-4 overtime loss.
  2. Lightning's Lindback under fire from Canadiens

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning goalie Anders Lindback wanted to seize the moment in his first playoff start.

    But in Wednesday's 5-4 overtime loss to the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal, Lindback was often under siege.

    Montreal outshot the Lightning 44-25, and while Lindback gave up some goals he likely would want to have back, he made some stellar saves — 39 overall — to give his team a chance....

  3. Lightning-Canadiens Game 1: Beard envy, seeing red, media influx

    Lightning Strikes

  4. Five things to know about the Canadiens

    Lightning Strikes

    Even the mayor is a major critic

    Hockey is a religion in Montreal, with the Canadiens enduring intense scrutiny and pressure. Just ask center David Desharnais, (right), who was called out publicly by Mayor Denis Coderre in November. After Desharnais started the season with just one assist in his first 17 games, Coderre sent out a disparaging Twitter post: "Hello? A one-way ticket to Hamilton (Montreal's AHL team) for David Desharnais." The Canadiens rallied around Desharnais, who turned his season around in a big way, finishing with 16 goals and 36 assists in 79 games and was plus-11. And after Desharnais scored the shootout winner Nov. 15 against Columbus, Coderre said on Twitter, "Bravo David." "It was tough, for sure," Desharnais — from Laurier-Station, Quebec, about 125 miles north of Montreal — told the Hockey News. "You're in the NHL, you're playing in your hometown in front of your family and friends, and you're getting embarrassed by the mayor. It's not easy."...

  5. Killorn and Barberio thrilled to face hometown Canadiens


    For Lightning C Alex Killorn and D Mark Barberio, who grew up in bordering neighborhoods in Montreal's west island, facing the Canadiens in the playoffs is extra special.

    "It's really exciting," Killorn said. "A lot of friends and family are going to be watching. I'm not sure how many of them will be rooting for me."

    Quipped Barberio: "I've got some family that still won't change."...

    Alex Killorn said he'd go to a few Canadiens games a season as a kid, and almost always wore the jersey of his favorite player, Saku Koivu, while skating in a nearby park.
  6. Lightning-Canadiens: How they match up

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning and Canadiens open their best-of-seven first-round Eastern Conference playoff series tonight at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. It's a good bet that the games will be close, considering three of the teams' four regular-season meetings this season went past regulation and two were decided by shootouts. Tampa Bay won the series 3-0-1. Who has the edge in the playoffs?


    Carey Price, Canadiens...

    Tyler Johnson, pictured, is one of four (Steven Stamkos, Valteri Filppula and Ondrej Palat are the others) 20-goal scorers for the Lightning this season.
  7. Palat, Filppula return to practice


    The Lightning got some good news on the injury front Tuesday, as two of its top scorers, LW Ondrej Palat and C Valteri Filppula, returned to practice.

    Filppula (lower body), tied with Steven Stamkos for a team-best 25 goals, was hurt Thursday against the Flyers and hasn't played the last two games. Palat (upper body), with a team-best 59 points, was hurt Friday against Columbus.

    While we won't an official update from coach Jon Cooper for another hour, the fact both players were at practice is a good sign they may be able to play for Wednesday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Canadiens....

    Ondrej Palat, who has a team-best 59 points, sustained an upper-body injury Friday against Columbus.
  8. Lightning's Lindback NHL's first star for week

    Lightning Strikes

    Lindback is NHL's first star

    TAMPA — Lightning goalie Anders Lindback was named the NHL's first star of the week on Monday. Lindback, who stepped in when starter Ben Bishop injured his elbow April 8, went 3-0-0 with a .067 goals against average and .975 save percentage. That included Sunday's 1-0 shootout victory over the Capitals to help Tampa Bay clinch home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Ducks goalie John Gibson and Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen were the other two stars....

  9. Lightning's Callahan, Canadiens' Gionta renew friendly rivalry in NHL playoffs

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Lightning wing Ryan Callahan delivers a hard check to Canadiens captain Brian Gionta during this week's first-round playoff series, consider it payback for their many childhood battles.

    Callahan, 29, and Gionta, 35, grew up just a few minutes away from each other in Greece, N.Y., a small suburb of Rochester. Callahan was good friends with Gionta's younger brother Stephen, 30, now a Devils center. Gionta hung out with Callahan's older brother Mike....

    Ryan Callahan has racked up six goals and five assists in 19 games with Tampa Bay, providing an edge and grit coach Jon Cooper said they needed.
  10. Rays' Wil Myers seeks calm return to Kansas City

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Wil Myers figures today's return to Kansas City will come without as much hoopla or hype.

    "Hopefully," he says, "there's not another press conference."

    Myers, 23, had one at Kauffman Stadium on Aug. 26, when the former Royals prized prospect made his much-anticipated first visit. Myers, acquired in the trade involving RHP James Shields on Dec. 9, 2012, was just two months removed from his first big-league call-up when he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in an 11-1 loss in a makeup game....

  11. Rays: Maddon's new puppy; rooting for Kentucky


    Puppy love: Rays manager Joe Maddon already had an English bulldog named Winston Churchill Maddon. Now he has a first lady for his first lady, surprising wife Jaye on Saturday with a puppy named Clementine Churchill Maddon (left). The brown and white English bulldog was an early birthday present for Jaye, paying her back for throwing him a surprise birthday party in February. Clementine, fittingly, was born on Maddon's birthday (Feb. 8). Quipped Maddon: "Is that dog-ology or astro-ology?"


  12. Video report: Rays lose 3-0 to Rangers to end homestand


    The Rays wrapped up their seven-game homestand with a 3-0 loss to the Rangers Sunday at Tropicana Field. It was a pitcher's duel between the Rays' Alex Cobb and Rangers' Yu Darvish, but Rays reliever Joel Peralta gave up a two-run homer in the eighth inning to Elvis Andrus, which proved the difference.

  13. Rays up next: at Royals

    The Heater

    . up next



    What's new: The Royals (2-3) are coming off their first winning season (86-76) since 2003. Their staff is led by ex-Rays RHP James Shields, who won't pitch in this series. They have one of the game's top young catchers, Salvador Perez, and added 2B Omar Infante to a lineup led by 1B Eric Hosmer, LF Alex Gordon and DH Billy Butler. The rotation lost RHP Ervin Santana but gained LHP Jason Vargas and hard-throwing Dominican RHP Yordano Ventura....

  14. Rays take to the road after loss to Rangers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Manager Joe Maddon predicted Sunday's game would be a "marquee matchup" on the mound, and it certainly was.

    Rays right-hander Alex Cobb matched Rangers ace Yu Darvish, each throwing seven scoreless innings. Cobb cruised, allowing just three hits. Darvish battled out of jams.

    "Both guys were outstanding," Maddon said.

    But Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus snapped the stalemate with two outs in the eighth, belting a two-run homer off setup man Joel Peralta to hand the Rays a 3-0 loss in front of 22,569 at Tropicana Field. ...

    Rays starter Alex Cobb pitches seven scoreless innings, but he gets a no-decision.
  15. For starters, Rays vs. Rangers


    The Rays, winners of three straight, will go for a sweep of the Rangers today in a Sunday matinee to end their homestand.

    RHP Alex Cobb will be on the mound, hoping to rebound from what he called a "pretty terrible" season debut Tuesday in a loss to the Blue Jays. The Rangers will throw their ace, RHP Yu Darvish, who is coming off the disabled list.

    OF David DeJesus, who suffered a bruised right foot Monday, will be DH again, though said he's feeling better. He'll likely play more outfield on the grass surface on the upcoming road trip....