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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 acquires Braydon Coburn; trades Radko Gudas, Brett Connolly

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman didn't sleep much Sunday night, the eve of the trade deadline.

    "Couple hours," Yzerman said. "Up late, up early."

    That was because Yzerman struck two separate deals — contingent on each other — before sunrise to land the veteran defenseman the Lightning needed for a deeper playoff run. And Yzerman felt he did so without "mortgaging a lot of our future."...

    The price for Braydon Coburn, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-shot defenseman, was steep, Tampa Bay giving up injured defenseman Radko Gudas along with first and third round picks in 2015. [AP photo]
  2. Lightning-Sabres preview capsule

    Lightning Strikes

    The price for Braydon Coburn, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-shot defenseman, was steep, Tampa Bay giving up injured defenseman Radko Gudas along with first and third round picks in 2015. [AP photo]
  3. Trades make for "bittersweet" day for Lightning players

    Blog

    Lightning veteran defenseman Matt Carle woke up Monday morning to text messages from a shocked Radko Gudas, who found out in the middle of the night he was traded to the Flyers.

    "As good as a buddy Gudy was, it was hard to see him go," Carle said.

    But then, Carle, realized another good friend, former Flyers teammate Braydon Coburn, was coming to Tampa Bay as part of the deal (which also sent a first and third round pick to Philly). Coburn, 30, a veteran defenseman, fulfilled Tampa Bay's major need for a playoff push....

  4. Yzerman: Trade gives Lightning better chance in playoffs

    Blog

    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman didn't sleep much Sunday night.

    "Couple hours," Yzerman said. "Up late, up early."

    That's because Yzerman worked through the night to swing two separate deals - that were contingent on another - to land the veteran defenseman the Lightning needed for its deeper playoff run without "mortgaging a lot of our future." Yzerman acquired Braydon Coburn from the Flyers, admitting he paid a "premium" in shipping injured defenseman Radko Gudas, a first and third round pick in this year's draft....

    Steve Yzerman acquired Braydon Coburn from the Flyers, admitting he paid a "premium" in shipping injured defenseman Radko Gudas, a first and third round pick in this year's draft.
  5. Braydon Coburn excited for 'new beginning' with Lightning

    Blog

    Defenseman Braydon Coburn knows trade rumors are part of playing in Philadelphia, so he had his phone off as he went to sleep the eve of the deadline.

    It wasn't until his wife, Nadine, woke up at 6:30 a.m to tend to their one-and-a-half year-old son Blair that she told her husband to check his phone. Coburn, 30, had been traded to Tampa Bay.

    "I was a little surprised, I was kind of shocked," Coburn said in a phone interview. "I understand it's part of the business. But it's a big new beginning for me. I'm excited."...

    The Lightning was searching for a veteran defenseman, and got one in Braydon Coburn, the longest tenured Flyer who has played in 614 NHL games, including 72 in the playoffs.
  6. Lightning trade Connolly and Gudas, acquire Coburn

    Blog

    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman got a veteran defenseman he was looking for, but it took some late night deals, and parting with a couple players off his regular roster to do it.

    And Yzerman may not be done, with the deadline at 3 p.m. Monday.

    Tampa Bay traded former first-round pick Brett Connolly to the Bruins for a second-round pick this year and a second-round pick in 2016. The Lightning also acquired Flyers veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn, a left-handed shot, for injured defenseman Radko Gudas, a first and third-round pick....

    The Flyers' Braydon Coburn checks the Columbus Blue Jackets' Alexander Wennberg into the boards during a game last month in Philadelphia.
  7. Lightning players okay if no trade made

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Empty-handed as of late Sunday, the Lightning was going to be working until today's 3 p.m. trade deadline to see if it could find the veteran defenseman it has been searching for.

    Though GM Steve Yzerman has called the chance of a trade "50-50," trade prices continued to be very high Sunday, with the Rangers sending touted forward prospect Anthony Duclair and a 2016 first-round draft pick for Coyotes D Keith Yandle. ...

    NO YOU DON’T: Panthers goalie Al Montoya, who has 20 saves, stops a shot by the Lightning’s Brett Connolly during the first.
  8. Lightning falls to Panthers

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Captain Steven Stamkos minced no words when it came to his disappointment following Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Panthers.

    "It's not acceptable," Stamkos said. "You're not going to win any games in this league playing like that."

    Sure, the score looks respectable because the Lightning showed its trademark fight in scoring twice in the third period to pull within one. But coach Jon Cooper said the game should have never come to that, with a spotty, sloppy effort in the second period digging too deep a hole....

    Tampa Bay Lightning’s defenseman Anton Stralman, left, works to prevent a shot or pass by  Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov during the second period Sunday night in Sunrise.
  9. Lightning players confident even if no trade

    Blog

    Just like everyon else, the Lightning players are waiting to see what general manager Steve Yzerman does before Monday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.

    Yzerman is hoping to add a veteran defenseman, saying it's a "50-50" chance. Like captain Steven Stamkos said, every team could use another piece or two to help down the stretch, but Tampa Bay believes it can contend if it stands pat.

    "Every team I've been on, you're happy with your group," said veteran wing Brenden Morrow said. "As much as you try to stay away from reading articles, we've heard if there's a veteran defenseman out there, with the injuries we've had, we could make a trade. And we'd be happy to have that. But all we can really control is what happens on the ice. It's not up to us what goes in, what goes out. But we're happy with our group, we're confident with our group."...

  10. Yzerman: Lightning won't trade just to trade

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — With the trade deadline looming Monday, the Lightning would still like to add a veteran defenseman, preferably a right-handed shot.

    Whether a deal comes to fruition remains to be seen.

    "It's 50-50," general manager Steve Yzerman said Saturday.

    But with the asking prices pretty high so far — veteran Andrej Sekera went for a conditional first-round draft pick and a prospect — Yzerman isn't desperate enough to pay more than he's comfortable with....

    Tampa Bay might be among several teams looking at 27-year-old Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry, left.
  11. Lightning-Panthers capsule preview

    Lightning Strikes

    Tonight

    Lightning at Panthers

    When/where: 5, BB&T Center, Sunrise

    TV/radio: Sun Sports; 970-AM

    Key stats: The Panthers are battling for their playoff lives, just behind Boston for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. … They have been busy making deals, acquiring veteran wing Jaromir Jagr and shipping out forwards Sean Bergenheim (Wild) and Tomas Fleischmann (Ducks). … The Panthers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Sabres on Saturday. … This is the first meeting since the Lightning won 3-2 in overtime on opening night, Oct. 9 in Tampa. … Florida's special teams have struggled. Its power play entered Saturday 27th (15.3 percent) and penalty kill 24th (79.7). … Lightning G Ben Bishop, expected to start, is 5-0-0 with a 1.89 goals-against average in five career starts vs. Florida....

  12. Lightning: Steven Stamkos' cool swag; Ben Bishop's cool mask

    Lightning Strikes

    Short shift with C Steven Stamkos

    Must-TiVo TV show: Suits

    Favorite movie: Remember the Titans

    Second-best sport growing up: Baseball. Played shortstop.

    What job you'd have if not in hockey: I'd try to make it in baseball.

    Favorite piece of memorabilia: I've got a Masters flag signed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods....

  13. Intangibles considered in trades, too

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE

    When former Lightning general manager Jay Feaster acquired defenseman Darryl Sydor at the 2004 trade deadline, it turned into a key piece for the Stanley Cup run.

    Feaster liked the deal right away but felt a lot more comfortable that afternoon after getting a vote of confidence while on the team bus.

    "I was in the front seat right behind the driver," Feaster said. "Our captain, Dave Andreychuk, got on, looked at me, put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed my shoulder. He was just nodding his head with a very serious look on his face....

    Defenseman Darryl Sydor was a key acquisition for the Lightning, made by general manager Jay Feaster near the 2004 trade deadline on the team’s way to its lone Stanley Cup title.
  14. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman: A "50-50" chance he makes a deal

    Blog

    With the trade deadline looming Monday, the Lightning would still like to add a veteran defenseman, preferably a right-handed shot. 

    Whether a deal comes to fruition remains to be seen.

    "It's 50-50," general manager Steve Yzerman said Saturday.

    But with the prices pretty high so far, veteran defensemen like Andrej Sekera going for a first-round pick and a prospect, Yzerman isn't desperate enough to pay more than he's comfortable with....

  15. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop debuts glow-in-the-dark mask (w video)

    Blog

    Goalie Ben Bishop debuted his new glow-in-the-dark mask Friday night, and picked up a shutout in a 4-0 win over the Blackhawks.

    “It’s 1-for-1,” Bishop said with a smile.

     

    The mask was designed by Dave Gunnarsson, whom Bishop has worked with for years. The mask originally just had a small Lightning decal that was glow in the dark, due to some special paint. Bishop requested the rest of the mask, which features lightning bolts, get similar treatment, the blue and white popping out....

    Ben Bishop makes one of his 28 saves as the Lightning shuts out the Blackhawks with a final score of 4 to 0.