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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

Blogs:

Lightning Strikes

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  1. Lightning loses again, this time to Canadiens

    Lightning Strikes

    MONTREAL — The Lightning felt it gave a much better effort Tuesday than Monday's "mailed-in" clunker in Ottawa.

    "Two polar opposite games," wing Ryan Callahan said.

    But after losing 4-2 to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, Tampa Bay might want to send out a search party for the team that had won 10 of 11 before this forgettable 48-hour trek through eastern Canada.

    The Lightning has lost back-to-back games for the first time since late December. But of more concern is how it happened, getting outscored a combined 9-3 by two desperate teams behind them in the standings....

    Canadiens wing Brendan Gallagher scores against Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop in the first period, opening the scoring.
  2. Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison out for game, could miss more

    Lightning Strikes

    MONTREAL — D Jason Garrison missed Tuesday's game and could be sidelined through the weekend due to a lower-body injury suffered in Monday's 5-1 loss to Ottawa.

    Garrison, who didn't play in the final two periods Monday, will be re-evaluated when the team is back in Tampa today.

    The Lightning hosts Nashville on Friday and St. Louis on Sunday.

    "I don't know how long it's going to be," coach Jon Cooper said. "But I would not expect him back for the next couple games."...

    Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (6) collides with Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Jason Garrison (5) along the boards as left wing Ondrej Palat looks on during first period NHL hockey action in Ottawa, Canada, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT AJW101
  3. Toronto's Dion Phaneuf trade stokes Stamkos speculation

    Lightning Strikes

    MONTREAL — The Maple Leafs made a blockbuster nine-player trade with Ottawa Tuesday, fueling speculation they were laying groundwork for an offseason offer for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.

    "This gives us the opportunity to do things," Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "This was a transaction that certainly wasn't for today."

    How about July 1? If Stamkos remains unsigned, he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and many believe his hometown Maple Leafs will make a strong bid. And in unloading captain Dion Phaneuf, who carried a $7 million cap hit the next five seasons, Toronto continues to gain more financial flexibility, with just $25 million committed to five players in 2017-18....

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) works to play the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during third  period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (01/21/16). DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. Garrison injury tough blow to Lightning blueline

    Blog

    The Lightning lost more than just a game Monday night in Ottawa.

    It also lost defenseman Jason Garrison, who missed the final two periods with a lower body injury that will keep him out tonight against the Canadiens (and potentially beyond). Garrison, considered day-to-day, will be re-evaluated when the team gets back to Tampa Wednesday.

    "We'll know more on Jason when we get home," GM Steve Yzerman said....

    Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (6) collides with Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison (5) along the boards as left wing Ondrej Palat looks on Monday in Ottawa. [Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP]
  5. Are Maple Leafs gearing up to make run at Stamkos?

    Blog

    There's no guarantee that captain Steven Stamkos leaves the Lightning as a free agent this summer.

    And if he does, it's still unclear whether Stamkos would even want to play for his hometown Maple Leafs, a rebuilding team in a rabid hockey market.

    But it's widely believed the Maple Leafs plan to make a run at Stamkos, if he's available. And Tuesday's blockbuster, nine-player trade with Ottawa that unloaded captain Dion Phaneuf and created cap space certainly sparked speculation that Toronto is gearing up for the potential Stamkos sweepstakes this summer....

    Steven Stamkos has maintained he wants to stay in Tampa Bay, and still hopes to get a deal done that would keep him with the only franchise he's ever known since getting drafted as an 18-year-old in 2008.
  6. Lopsided loss at Ottawa ends Lightning's hot run

    Lightning Strikes

    OTTAWA — The Lightning didn't bother trying to sugarcoat Monday's clunker, a 5-1 loss to the Senators.

    "Just a mailed in effort," center Brian Boyle said.

    It was surprising considering Tampa Bay had been one of the league's hottest teams, still winners of 10 of its past 12. But you wouldn't have guessed it by watching Monday, when the Senators outplayed and outworked Tampa Bay thoroughly....

    Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison goes down after a hit from Senators wing Bobby Ryan.
  7. Senators' Kyle Turris relates to Jonathan Drouin's trade request

    Lightning Strikes

    OTTAWA — While the Lightning will play in Jonathan Drouin's hometown of Montreal tonight, the suspended wing continues to work out and skate on his own somewhere in the city.

    That has been Drouin's routine since he did not show up for the Jan. 20 game for AHL Syracuse, leading to the indefinite suspension without pay. Drouin, who requested a trade in November, doesn't want to suffer a deal-altering injury, so he waits in limbo, with no timetable on when — or if — the No. 3 pick from 2013 gets his desired fresh start....

  8. Lightning-Canadiens preview capsule

    Lightning Strikes

    . tonight

    Lightning at Canadiens

    When/where: 7:30, Bell Centre, Montreal

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 970-AM

    Key stats: The reeling Canadiens (26-24-4) are coming off a much-needed weekend sweep. They snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Edmonton and Carolina, thanks to strong play by G Ben Scrivens, acquired from Edmonton in December. Montreal, in an 8-20-2 skid, is still without MVP G Carey Price, out since November with a lower-body injury. The Canadiens beat the Lightning 4-3 in a shootout Dec. 28 in the teams' first meeting. G Ben Bishop, who will start, is 10-1-3 with a 1.62 goals-against average in 15 career games against Montreal....

  9. Turris relates to Drouin's plight: 'It's a tough, tough go'

    Blog

    While the Lightning will play in Jonathan Drouin's hometown of Montreal Tuesday, the suspended wing continues to work out and skate on his own every day somewhere in the city.

    That's been Drouin's routine the past three weeks, since he did not show up for the Jan. 20 game for AHL Syracuse, forcing the indefinite suspension without pay. Drouin, who requested a trade in November, didn't want to suffer a deal-altering injury, so he waits in limbo, with no timetable on when - or if - the No. 3 pick from 2013 gets his desired fresh start....

  10. Condra to face former team, Bishop won't

    Blog

    Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was one of the last players off the ice at Monday's optional skate, acknowledging to the swarm of Ottawa-based reporters he would not get a chance to face his former team tonight.

    "It's been a good run while it lasted," Bishop joked.

    Bishop has been dominant against the Senators, which traded him to the Lightning in the spring of 2013, going 8-0-3 with a 2.12 goals against average in 12 career starts. But with Tampa Bay having a back-to-back, Bishop would only start one of the games, and that'll be Tuesday against the Canadiens. G Andrei Vasilevskiy gets the nod tonight....

  11. Tough goalie call in Lightning's future

    Lightning Strikes

    For nearly a decade, the Lightning desperately searched for a No. 1 goaltender.

    Now Tampa Bay has two in All-Star Ben Bishop and prized prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy, with coach Jon Cooper dubbing them a "1 and 1A" tandem.

    "A lot of people think they're very, very close as far as ability," NBCSN analyst Eddie Olczyk says.

    That's a good problem to have — for now — with Bishop, 29, and Vasilevskiy, 21, the primary reasons the Lightning even sniffed a playoff position during an inconsistent first half of the season....

    Ben Bishop, who has developed into one of the league’s top goalies, has one more season left on his contract at $5.95 million. Andrei Vasilevskiy, considered a future star by some, has one year left on his entry-level deal at $925,000. He can be a restricted free agent after next season. Their futures could be tied in part of the Lightning’s other contract situations.
  12. Lightning Nuts & Bolts: Stralman okay on guitar, great with Ikea furniture

    Lightning Strikes

    Short shift w/ D Anton Stralman

    Go-to karaoke song: I don't think I've ever done karaoke. I sang Enter Sandman by Metallica, had to sing on my bachelor party because they sent me to a music studio to make fun of me. But I nailed it.

    What can you play on your guitar? I actually started when I first moved in with (wife) Johanna. Kind of had to give up the video game there. I played some music growing up, played jazz flute for how many years in school. I probably picked it to please my mom. I always wanted to play guitar, and I picked it up, self-taught myself to somewhat of a (bad) level. I play mostly grunge stuff, like Alice in Chains....

    Associated Press
  13. Lightning's hard-luck Paquette: Not my year

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — During Thursday's practice, Lightning C Cedric Paquette took a slap shot off his right shin and buckled to the ice in pain.

    After getting helped off to the Ice Sports Forum dressing room, Paquette returned after practice ended, drawing a large ovation from teammates.

    "It's not my year," he said.

    Paquette was fine, and he played Friday night against the Penguins. But he has had his share of bad luck this season. It started with a left foot/ankle injury during the preseason blocking a shot, and later he missed a month after aggravating it in mid November....

    Lightning center Cedric Paquette has played just 26 games this season after hurting his left foot and ankle blocking a shot in the preseason.
  14. Lightning's Paquette: 'It's just not my year'

    Blog

    During Thursday's practice, center Cedric Paquette took a slap shot off his left shin and buckled to the ice.

    After getting helped off to the dressing room, Paquette would return after practice at the Ice Sports Forum ended, drawing a large ovation from teammates.

    "It's just not my year," he said afterwards.

    Paquette has had some bad luck, missing a good chunk of the season due to a right foot/ankle injury suffered blocking a shot during the preseason and then reaggravated in November....

    Cedric Paquette has had some bad luck, missing a good chunk of the season due to a right foot/ankle injury suffered blocking a shot during the preseason and then reaggravated in November.
  15. Scoring first key not just for Lightning

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Veteran defenseman Anton Stralman said he can't explain it.

    Why do NHL teams that score the game's first goal win more than 75 percent of the time this season, as the Elias Sports Bureau says?

    "It's just one goal," Stralman said.

    But it's an extremely important one.

    The Lightning enter tonight's game against the Penguins having won nine of its past 10 games. Of those nine wins, Tampa Bay scored the first goal in seven. It is 21-4-0 when striking first, 6-15-4 when the other team does....

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing J.T. Brown (23) (center) celebrates his goal along with center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) (left) and defenseman Braydon Coburn (55) (right) beating Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek (34), for their first goal of the game, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Wednesday evening (02/03/16). Joining the celebration in defenseman Nikita Nesterov (89) (on far left).