This all came about, Smith becoming the odd-man-out in Tampa, with thanks to Mike's knee being injured in practice in December 2010. Smith had won his last two starts in Tampa, but had been the starter in two drubbings in the very recent past (the 6-0 shutout by the Washington Capitals, and the 8-1 massacre in Boston. Both occurred in late November).
Of course, there is more to this story than just Mike Smith's knee; inconsistent play following his concussion from December 2008 turned Mike into a different goaltender than he was before. Or at least, this was how it was seen in the eyes of the fans.
The official team press release is below the jump.