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



Lightning Strikes

  1. Lightning announce training camp schedule


    The Lightning announced its training camp schedule Wednesday night, with three open practices on tap.

    Tampa Bay opens camp Thursday at Amalie Arena, where there will be physicals and testing. The first full practice is Friday at Amalie Arena.

    The Lightning will move to the Ice Forum in Brandon for an open practice Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. and including a scrimmage from 11:15 a.m,-12. The other open practices are on Sept. 27 Fan Fest (scrimmage) and Oct. 1 in Estero.

    The current camp schedule is below and is subject to change....

  2. Story lines for Tampa Bay Lightning training camp

    Lightning Strikes


    What a difference a year makes.

    Considering how many questions surrounded the Lightning before last season — from who its goalie (and captain) would be to how many rookies would make the team — Tampa Bay opens training camp today at Amalie Arena with a lot more clarity.

    It has its No. 1 goalie in Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop, a healthy — and happy — captain in Steven Stamkos, and a returning young core that has many pundits predicting the Lightning to be among the best in the Eastern Conference. ...

    NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 30:  Jonathan Drouin, 3rd pick overall by the Tampa Bay Lighting, poses for a portrait during the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center on June 30, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jonathan Drouin
  3. Lightning set training camp roster


    The Lightning opens its training camp Thursday at Amalie Arena, starting with physicals and testing. The first day on the ice will be Friday.

    Most of the team has been working out together in informal skates in Brandon and Amalie Arena in recent weeks.

    The team announced its roster, and there aren't many surprises. The only new addition is goalie Peter Mannino, the former University of Denver product who played in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season....

  4. Lightning lose 6-3 to Panthers in prospect tournament


    The Lightning lost 6-3 to the Panthers Tuesday in the finale of the prospect tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

    Rookie forward Michael Aviani, a camp invitee, scored his second goal of the three-game tourney. Defenseman Slater Koekkoek and Cameron Maclise also had goals for Tampa Bay, with forward Adam Erne seeing his first game action since offseason wrist surgery.

    "It’s been a while since I have played a game, so I definitely had to get my legs underneath me, Erne said. "It felt good after a little bit. It was a tough game but Florida is a good team and we just didn’t

  5. Video: Steven Stamkos converts from 91 yards


    Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has scored many goals with his rocket one-timer. And in a promotional clip for Bauer, Stamkos' slap shot was put to an interesting test, challenging him to shoot a puck off a plastic mat through the uprights from several distances on a football field. How far was his longest "field goal?" Check it out.

    Steven Stamkos
  6. 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."...

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


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

  8. 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."...

  9. Former Lightning wing Ryan Malone signs with Rangers


    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....

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


    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....

  11. Lightning Fan Fest set for Sept. 27


    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....

  12. 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
  13. Prospect Adam Erne not yet cleared for contact


    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....

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


    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....

  15. Goalie Leland Irving gets invite to training camp


    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.....