<span class="vcard">Jason Brough</span>

J.T. Brown, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin

Cooper urges ‘caution,’ but hoping for chemistry between Stamkos and Drouin

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When Jonathan Drouin was drafted third overall in 2013, many felt he could be the ideal winger for Lightning center Steven Stamkos.

At five on the five, the two did play a bit together last season, though not a ton.

And while they may be together more in 2015-16, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper is warning not to read too much into preseason line combos.

“I just want to caution everyone, just because you’re using someone in camp, doesn’t mean that’s how everything is going to play out,” Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times.

“But we do want to see them together, and see if some chemistry starts coming together, and this is the time to do that. While they’re on the same line, we like to see what they can do.”

Stamkos and Drouin have been skating together since the start of camp and are expected to be on the same line tonight against the Panthers, along with Nikita Kucherov.

Stamkos is one of the NHL’s top goal-scorers. Drouin was a prolific playmaker in junior. Hence, the belief that they could form an effective duo.

“We hope that a little bit more chemistry comes about with these two, because they’re both great talents,” said Cooper.

Akeson avoids supplemental discipline for hit on Greening


Buffalo’s Jason Akeson will not be punished for his hit on Ottawa’s Colin Greening.

“Akeson’s skates are on the ice at impact, so the hit was not a charging violation,” the NHL’s Department of Player Safety determined.

“And while there was some head contact, we deemed it was unavoidable under Rule 48.1(ii).”

Greening reportedly “left the ice on wobbly legs” after the second-period collision on Wednesday night. Ottawa’s Travis Ewanyk reacted by instigating a fight with Akeson.

No penalty was assessed for the hit.

Ortio makes case with 35-save shutout

Cody McLeod, Ryan Wilson, Matt Duchene, Rasmus Andersson, Jack Skille, Joni Ortio

Joni Ortio’s goal this season was to steal the starting goalie job in Calgary from Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo.

The 24-year-old sure didn’t hurt his case last night with a 35-save shutout over Colorado — even if he looked a bit shaky early in the preseason affair.

“Pucks were bouncing on me in the first, but the guys were good clearing loose change in front and I think that settled me down,” said Ortio, per the Canadian Press.

No longer exempt from waivers, Ortio has presented the Flames with a bit a crease conundrum. They have three goalies. They only need two.

According to the Calgary Sun, “logic dictates Hiller will be the odd man out” of the three.

More from the Sun:

The Flames would likely love to trade Hiller to a team suffering a training camp injury and in need of a proven starter. However, the return would be minimal and it’s more likely he’ll be waiver-bound, setting up a scenario where Hiller would either be plucked by another team or off for a stint with the Flames’ AHL club.

The team certainly doesn’t want to carry three goalies on the roster much past opening night, and the one they’d least like to lose is the youngest, cheapest and most promising one — Ortio.

Every year there seems to be at least one team that struggles early with its goaltending. Minnesota was a prime example last season, until Devan Dubnyk was acquired from Arizona.

The Flames could wait for such a situation to present itself this season.

Hiller is a pending unrestricted free agent. Last year, the 33-year-old had a respectable .918 save percentage in 52 appearances.

Erie County D.A. says evidence in Kane case ‘not tampered with’


Erie County district attorney Frank Sedita today refuted allegations of evidence-tampering in the Patrick Kane sexual assault case.

“The forensic evidence in this case was not tampered with, nor was it compromised,” Sedita said.

“We believe the complainant’s mother has carried out an elaborate hoax.”

In a detailed presentation to reporters, Sedita said that the brown paper bag that was displayed during Wednesday’s press conference by the accuser’s former lawyer, Thomas Eoannou, never contained the rape kit.

“A rape kit is a box,” said Sedita. “It is not a bag. Nor does it require a bag.”

Sedita said that the bag that Eoannou displayed Wednesday had been provided by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) on August 2 and given to the accuser’s mother. The SANE, according to Sedita, had requested that the accuser’s mother place the accuser’s “top” in the bag “for later collection by the police.”

Sedita said that the “last person seen with the brown paper bag” on August 2 “is the same person who purportedly discovered the brown paper bag” on Tuesday. “That being the complainant’s mother.”

Sedita would not speculate on the mother’s motive for her actions. He did not believe that charges would be filed against the mother, as “it is not a crime in the state of New York to make fraudulent representations to a private party,” i.e. by the mother to Eoannou.

Sedita did not know if the accuser knew of her mother’s actions.

Sedita said that the rape investigation is ongoing and that there’s no timetable for its completion.

“The question in my mind is not when this case will go to a grand jury, it’s if this case will go to a grand jury,” he said.

“I have never seen anything like this,” he added.

The following are screen shots of slides used today by Sedita:

screen screen2 screen3  screen5 screen6 screen7

Francis Bouillon announces retirement

Francis Bouillon, David Desharnais

Francis Bouillon has retired.

The 39-year-old defenseman made the announcement today via the Montreal Canadiens’ website.

Bouillon finished with 149 points in 776 NHL games for Montreal and Nashville. He also played in 55 playoff games.

Bouillon’s last NHL game was on May 29, 2014 — a 1-0 Canadiens loss to the Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.

He played last season in Switzerland.