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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. Bishop having fun in Montreal pressure cooker

    Lightning Strikes

    MONTREAL — G Ben Bishop could have easily caved Friday night.

    Bishop had given up a potentially haunting goal, LW Max Pacioretty's wrist shot popping out of his glove and trickling into the net to tie the Canadiens with the Lightning at 1 with five minutes left in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Canadiens' fans mercilessly mocked the Lightning goaltender, chanting "BISH-OP!" and giving him Bronx cheers for every easy save....

    Lightning goalie Ben Bishop makes one of his 43 saves from the ice during the first overtime against the Canadiens on Friday.
  2. Lightning: Two views of East semifinal; a day of rest

    Lightning Strikes

    View from Montreal

    "It's just one game. There's no time for panic."

    Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk, on Montreal's 1-0 series deficit in the Eastern Conference semifinals

    View from Tampa Bay

    "We can really take a stranglehold of this series."

    Lightning defenseman Matt Carle, on Tampa Bay's approach to today's Game 2

    Day of rest...

    TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Matt Carle of the Tampa Bay Lightning poses for his official headshot for the 2014-2015 season on September 18, 2014 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
  3. Lightning look to grab "stranglehold" of series

    Blog

    The Lightning finds itself in an enviable position, winning the first game on the road in a best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal against the Canadiens, an emotional 2-1 double overtime victory Friday night.

    But Tampa Bay wants more heading into Sunday's Game 2 at the Bell Centre.

    "We can really take a stranglehold on this series," defenseman Matt Carle said. "We have a really good opportunity to go up 2-0 and grab two wins out of their building."...

  4. Lightning tops Canadiens 2-1 in 2OT

    Lightning Strikes

    MONTREAL — The Lightning returned to the "scene of the crime" Friday night, as coach Jon Cooper said.

    Montreal is where Tampa Bay's season died last April, thanks to a stinging sweep handed to the Lightning by the Canadiens. And it appeared the Bell Centre crowd would witness a larceny by Montreal in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal Friday.

    There was the glove-save-that-wasn't by Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, in which the puck fluttered into the net with five minutes left to force overtime. And there was Nikita Kucherov's apparent winner early in the first overtime that, it turns out, was correctly ruled no goal due to the Lightning wing pushing goalie Carey Price's pad into the net....

    Lightning goalie Ben Bishop makes a glove-save against Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec during the second period of Game 1 in Montreal. Tampa Bay’s victory stuns the sellout crowd.
  5. Lightning: Who's the underdog?; very superstitious

    Lightning Strikes

    Gamesmanship of the day

    One day after Montreal coach Michel Therrien labeled the Canadiens the underdogs in their Eastern Conference semifinal, Lightning coach Jon Cooper sent a volley back. "They had 110 points, won the division, have a Vezina candidate, Hart candidate, Norris candidate," Cooper said Friday. "I guess if we had (top goalie, MVP and top defenseman award candidates), I'd say, 'Yeah, he's the underdog.' But we don't have those."...

    TAMPA, FL - APRIL 16: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning readies for the game against the Detroit Red Wings  in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Amalie Arena on April 16, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
  6. Brian Boyle stands tall for Lightning

    Lightning Strikes

    MONTREAL — Lately it has been hard for Lightning coach Jon Cooper to keep C Brian Boyle off the ice.

    Boyle, 30, a veteran forward signed over the summer with the playoffs in mind, continues to expand his role, including a move up to play on a line with C Valtteri Filppula and Cedric Paquette for Friday's Game 1 against the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference semifinals....

    TAMPA, FL - APRIL 18: Brian Boyle #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Amalie Arena on April 18, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
  7. Lightning return to "scene of the crime"

    Blog

    It didn't take Lightning coach Jon Cooper long to address the elephant in the room at the Bell Centre, opening his pre-game press conference with this:

    "Back to the scene of the crime, a year later?" Cooper quipped.

    The Lightning's season ended here stunningly last April, getting swept in the first round by the Canadiens. Tampa Bay hasn't been playing up the revenge card, pointing out how its a much different team than the one that lost last year. Just look at the handful of new players in the lineup, especially goalie Ben Bishop....

    The Lightning comes in confident, and also focused, captain Steven Stamkos said.
  8. Lightning gets its 'special' playoff rematch

    Lightning Strikes

    MONTREAL — The last time coach Jon Cooper was here, he stood in the bowels of the Bell Centre surrounded by cameras.

    The Lightning had just clinched a playoff berth by wrapping up a regular-season five-game sweep of the Canadiens on March 30. Sure, there was some satisfaction, considering Montreal had stunningly swept Tampa Bay out of the playoffs' first round in six days last spring. But to the Lightning, this didn't erase the past, nor did it remove the bitter taste in its mouth that drove the team all summer....

    Hats litter the ice as Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his third goal of the game completing the hat trick against the Montreal Canadiens during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/13/14). DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  9. Goalie faceoff could highlight Lightning-Canadiens series

    Lightning Strikes

    MONTREAL — G Ben Bishop delivered one of the best performances of his career in Wednesday's Game 7, shutting out the Red Wings with 31 saves in a 2-0 victory.

    It won't get easier for Bishop tonight as the Lightning begins an Eastern Conference semifinal showdown with the Canadiens and G Carey Price, who is a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

    "I just have to embrace it," Bishop said. "Obviously (Price is) one of the best goalies in the world, if not the best. It's always fun playing against the best. You kind of put yourself up against them."...

    Tampa Bay Lightning's Jonathan Drouin scores past Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 30, 2015, in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
  10. Lightning-Canadiens playoff tickets go on sale Friday

    Blog

    The Lightning will put single game playoff tickets for its second round series against Montreal on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.

    Tampa Bay will host Games 3 & 4 next Wednesday and Thursday at Amalie Arena, both at 7 p.m. It will also have Game 6, if necessary, on May 12, a Tuesday.

    The same Lightning ticket policy for first round applies in second — those who buy online must have a Florida ID. ...

  11. Lightning shuts out Wings in Game 7, heads to East semis (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The biggest goal of Braydon Coburn's life didn't exactly go in as planned.

    The veteran defenseman, acquired from the Flyers at the trade deadline, attempted a one-timer from the right circle early in the third period of Wednesday's thrilling Game 7 with Detroit. He watched the puck flutter — a "knuckleball," he called it — before soaring over the right shoulder of Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek to break a scoreless tie. Sold-out Amalie Arena exploded....

    Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) and goalie Ben Bishop keep Red Wings center Landon Ferraro off the score sheet during the first period.
  12. Lightning ready for Game 7 against Red Wings

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Coach Jon Cooper said they may be two of the greatest words put beside each other in any sport:

    Game 7.

    It's one of the most thrilling events there is, with desperation on the ice, delirium in the stands. Dreams are fulfilled, and crushed. Winners move on, losers go home. That's where the Lightning finds itself tonight, its best-of-seven, first-round series with the Red Wings tied at 3-3 heading into the 7:30 showdown at Amalie Arena. With a victory, Tampa Bay moves on to an anticipated rematch with the Canadiens. A loss makes its record-setting season a disappointment....

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) celebrates as he scores beating Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek (34) for the forth Lightning goal of the game, Johnson's second, during second period action in game two of the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Saturday afternoon (04/18/15).
  13. Red Wings' Kronwall suspended for Game 7 vs. Lightning

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Niklas Kronwall, the Red Wings' top defenseman, was suspended for tonight's Game 7 against the Lightning for charging RW Nikita Kucherov in Monday's Game 6.

    Kronwall logged more than 23 minutes in each of the last four games.

    The NHL's Player Safety Department announced the decision Tuesday evening, There was no penalty called when Kronwall left his feet and hit Kucherov's head with his forearm late in the second period, knocking him to the ice, and dislodging his helmet. In a video explanation, NHL Player Safety Department stated that supplemental discipline was warranted due to the force with which the hit was delivered, and the "significant head contact that resulted from Kronwall launching" into Kucherov. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was surprised Kronwall even had a disciplinary hearing, and general manager Ken Holland told reporters he disagreed with the decision....

    Niklas Kronwall levels Nikita Kucherov with a check in the second period Monday. No penalty is called, but the NHL says supplemental discipline is needed because of force and head contact.
  14. Kronwall suspended for Game 7 for hit on Kucherov

    Blog

    Update: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall has been suspended for Game 7 against the Lightning for charging wing Nikita Kucherov in Monday's game.

    The NHL's Player Safety Department announced the decision this evening, delivering a big blow to Detroit, which will be without its top defenseman.

    There was no penalty called when Kronwall left his feet and his Kucherov's head with his forearm late in the second period, knocking the Lightning wing to the ice, and dislodging his helmet. But in a video explanation, NHL Player Safety Department states that supplemental discipline was warranted due to the force with which the hit was delivered, and the "significant head contact that resulted from Kronwall launching" into Kucherov....

    The hit occurred in the final minute of the second period, with Niklas Kronwall leaving his feet and connecting his elbow/forearm to the head of Nikita Kucherov, who went down hard on the ice.
  15. Lightning forces Game 7 with win in Detroit (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Tyler Johnson said when the Lightning talked before Monday's win-or-go-home Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena, the message was simple.

    "We basically had two choices to make," Johnson said. "Either give up or come out swinging. I felt that, with our backs against the wall, we came out swinging."

    Boy, did they. The Lightning staved off elimination with a thrilling 5-2 victory over the Red Wings to stun a sellout crowd and force Game 7 Wednesday night at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay played with the type of desperation and execution of a team that didn't want its record-setting season to end....

    Lightning forward Tyler Johnson celebrates his second-period goal, his second of the game and league-high tying sixth of the postseason, in front of Danny DeKeyser of the Red Wings.