Clear87° FULL FORECASTClear87° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram

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

link
  1. Lightning makes Stanley Cup final with Game 7 shutout of Rangers (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    NEW YORK — One by one, Lightning players jubilantly jumped over the bench and into history.

    They all made a beeline for goalie Ben Bishop, who had fittingly kick-started the celebration of Friday's 2-0 Game 7 victory over the Rangers in the Eastern Conference final.

    "I was just trying to catch my breath," Bishop said. "And they all came."

    There are many factors that led the Lightning back to the Stanley Cup final for the first time since its only championship, in 2004. Tampa Bay played a near-perfect road game, getting goals by Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat....

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr (62), J.T. Brown (23),  Steven Stamkos (91) and Matt Carle (25) works to rough up New York Rangers center Derick Brassard (16) as eh whistle blows with him in the crease during second period action of game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals at at Madison Square Garden in New York Friday evening (5/29/15).
  2. For Lightning 'Black Aces,' not playing is good experience, too (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    NEW YORK — C Mike Angelidis participated during Lightning warmups for Friday's Game 7, sparking speculation he might make his playoff debut.

    Angelidis didn't play in the Eastern Conference finale against the Rangers. But he and the rest of the Lightning's "Black Aces" — traditionally, players who are on a team but usually not in the lineup during the playoffs — have benefited by gaining experience during this run....

    The Lightning’s Mike Angelidis plays the puck along the boards against the Blue Jackets in January. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  3. Lightning: Rare double Game 7s; views from N.Y., Tampa Bay

    Lightning Strikes

    Did you know?

    Both conference finals require a Game 7 for just the second time during the NHL's expansion era (since 1967-68). The other time was 2000 (New Jersey over Philadelphia, Dallas over Colorado). Only once before expansion did each of the two series right before the Stanley Cup final go seven games, in 1964 (Toronto over Montreal, Detroit over Chicago).

    View from N.Y....

  4. Lightning has 'quiet confidence' heading into Game 7

    Blog

    There's no sugar-coating the significance of tonight's Game 7 for the Lightning.

    Win, and reach its first Stanley Cup Final since it's 2004 championship. Lose, and season is over.

    But captain Steven Stamkos said he senses a "quiet confidence" among his teammates heading into the biggest game of the season.

    "There's more excitement than nervous tension, which is a good thing," Stamkos said. "We realize the magnitude of it,  we realize what we've done that made us successful in the past, and we've got to do it tonight. There's no bigger stage, and I think guys are willing to embrace that."...

    Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said he senses a "quiet confidence" among his teammates heading into the biggest game of the season.
  5. Lightning's Game 7 confidence comes from many things

    Lightning Strikes

    NEW YORK — Much has been made about the resilience of the battle-tested Rangers, who are 15-3 in elimination games since 2012.

    "It seems like they always step up at the right moment and everyone is on their game when they need it the most," said Lightning D Anton Stralman, a former Ranger.

    But the Lightning enters tonight's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden with confidence, having learned a lot from its Game 7 victory over Detroit in the first round....

    Lightning coach Jon Cooper, top row right, says his team has been responding to great pressure all season, one example being the Game 7 first-round win vs. Detroit
  6. For the Lightning, this is the time to win

    Lightning Strikes

    NEW YORK — Before these NHL playoffs began, the Lightning held a team dinner, where several players spoke.

    When it was veteran wing Brenden Morrow's turn, his message was simple. After reaching the Stanley Cup final as a rookie in 1999-2000, Morrow, 36, hasn't been back since.

    "Don't have any regrets," he said. "Opportunities are few and far between."

    You think you'll get there every year, Morrow said, but you won't. Hockey's holy grail, the Stanley Cup, can be like a mirage in the desert, vanishing before your very eyes. In a world in which teams operate with a salary cap, the window for them to get this far is smaller than it has ever been....

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) as his team prepares to head out of the locker room and down the tunnel onto the ice for warm ups before taking on the Detroit Red Wings in game one of the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (04/16/15).
  7. Lightning: No 'mystique'; smiling Stamkos; pricey Game 7 tickets

    Lightning Strikes

    Quote of the day

    "You're one game away from the Stanley Cup final. Just saying that puts a smile on my face."

    Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, on tonight's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final against the Rangers

    No 'mystique'

    With the Rangers holding a 7-0 record all time in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden, former Ranger and current Lightning center Brian Boyle was asked Thursday if he believed in the "mystique" of the building. Quipped Boyle: "What am I doing here? I'm not going to fly up from Florida if I bought it."...

    TAMPA, FL - MAY 20:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates after defeating the New York Rangers 6 to 5 in overtime of Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 20, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) 554342781
  8. Lightning ready to respond in Game 7

    Blog

    Much has been made about the reslience of the battle-tested Rangers, who are 15-3 in elimination games since 2012, and 7-0 in Game 7s at home.

    "It seems like they always step up at the right moment and everyone is on their game when they need it the most," said D Anton Stralman, a former Ranger.

    But as the Lightning enters Friday's Game 7 against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, it enters with confidence having "been there" before, too, learning a lot from its Game 7 victory over Detroit in the first round....

    Victor Hedman said that Game 7 against Detroit was "huge" for this young team, realizing how it has to play to be successful with its back against the wall.
  9. Stanley Cup Final to begin Wednesday

    Blog

    The Stanley Cup Final will begin Wednesday, June 3, the NHL announced today.

    So if the Lightning were to win Game 7 against the Rangers Friday night and advance, it'd either open the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday in Anaheim, or at Amalie Arena against Chicago.

    The Ducks and Blackhawks play in Game 7 Saturday in Anaheim. The Lightning would have home-ice advantage with Chicago, not with Anaheim....

  10. Flu symptoms hit Lightning

    Lightning Strikes

    NEW YORK — Coach Jon Cooper said having a two-day break before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final would be much welcomed for his Lightning team to get healthy.

    And it looks like the Lightning needs it.

    LW Alex Killorn confirmed Wednesday that several teammates have been dealing with flu symptoms this week. D Braydon Coburn was the only confirmed case, forcing him to miss a large part of Sunday's Game 5 against the Rangers. C Tyler Johnson and LW Ondrej Palat did not participate in Tuesday's optional morning skate before Game 6. Both played in the 7-3 loss that evened the series at three games and forced Friday's Game 7....

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Alex Killorn (17), center, attacks New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) at the net while New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle (93) attempts to defend during the first period of Friday's (5/22/15) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers for game four of the Eastern Conference Finals at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  11. Lightning: Mayor-on-mayor taunting; two views of Game 7

    Lightning Strikes

    Gift of the day

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman (left) sent out a friendly Twitter message to Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, reminding him that he'll have a personalized Lightning jersey waiting for him "to wear the next time we have dinner" in the wake of the Lightning eliminating the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

    View from Tampa Bay...

  12. Lightning players dealing with flu bug

    Blog

    Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the two days before Game 7 will be a much-welcomed break to get healthy.

    And it looks like there's a good reason for that, as wing Alex Killorn confirmed today that several players are dealing with a flu-bug. Defenseman Braydon Coburn missed part of Game 5 because of it. Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat didn't participate in Tuesday's morning skate, but played....

    Defenseman Braydon Coburn missed part of Game 5 because of a flu bug.
  13. Lightning falls to Rangers, must win another Game 7 to advance to Stanley Cup final (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — For all the growth the Lightning has shown throughout this playoff run, one key aspect it hasn't completely figured out is how to close out a series.

    It took the Lightning three games to finish off the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference semifinals. And now after uncharacteristically unraveling in Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Rangers in Game 6 of the conference final, Tampa Bay must head back to New York for a winner-take-all Game 7 on Friday night at Madison Square Garden....

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24) battles along the boards against New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) during fist period action of game six of the Eastern Conference Finals at Amalie Arena in Tampa Tuesday evening (5/26/15).
  14. Lightning's Ryan Callahan breaks his goal drought (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Before Sunday's Game 5 in New York, Lightning coach Jon Cooper predicted RW Ryan Callahan would break his postseason scoring drought. It turns out Cooper was off by a game.

    Callahan ended his slump Tuesday in the Lightning's 7-3 loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final against the Rangers with a breakaway goal on a power play in the first period. The former Rangers captain took a pass from D Anton Stralman and made a move on G Henrik Lundqvist, backhanding a shot in for his first playoff goal since May 19, 2013, when Callahan was with the Rangers....

    Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan brings joy to his teammates as well as himself after scoring in the first period of Game 6, his first playoff goal since 2013.
  15. Lighting: Stamkos' favorite omelet; some fans are animals

    Lightning Strikes

    Egg it up

    Many Lightning players were asked about what was on their mind Tuesday morning, being one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup final. C Steven Stamkos quipped he was thinking about the omelet he'd have for breakfast: "Little bacon, tomatoes, assortment of peppers and a little cheese. All organic, of course."

    These fans are animals

    The Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa showed its support for the Lightning, posting on Twitter photographs of animals including a penguin and a snake posing with Lightning signs: "@TBLightning fans come in all shapes & sizes! #GoBolts from your friends @LowryParkZoo."...

    DETROIT, MI - MARCH 28: Brenden Morrow #10 of the Tampa Bay Lightning watches the action from the bench during a NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings on March 28, 2015 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Wings defeated the Lightning 4-0 (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)