NHL Weekly Horoscopes: Week 1 a time of change, excitement

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Like a clock tells time, astrology tells our cosmic future. Often misunderstood or written off as pseudo-science, the stars have a way of charting our possible futures.

We’ll be making some horoscopes for the NHL teams each week and see how their chemistry on the ice and in the stars might project their future. Think Co-Star meets hockey.

EAST DIVISION

• Boston Bruins: Highest concentration in Taurus

Losing Zdeno Chara takes a Pisces out of the equation, where they’ve had a lot of leadership. Leo Patrice Bergeron was recently named the new captain.

Horoscope: After a sluggish six months, Mars moved into its home Taurus on Wednesday. Expect a power surge through March 3. 

Do: Line consistency Don’t: Overextend young defenders

• Buffalo Sabres: Highest concentration in Sagittarius

The Sabres have had a rough start to training camp with Jack Eichel and Zemgus Girgensons suffering injuries.

Horoscope: Use the upcoming Venus-Mars trine as an opportunity to feel united with a roster that already exudes chemistry.

Do: Experiment Don’t: Over-analyze short-term

• Washington Capitals: Highest concentration in Taurus

The Capitals made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason adding Pisces Zdeno Chara.

Horoscope: Mars returning to Taurus will have a stabilizing effect on what would be an otherwise restless period, making planning for the future an important strategy. The secondary placement in Virgo adds some more stability.

Do: Make plans Don’t: Rush to judgement

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

• New York Rangers: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Capricorn Igor Shesterkin has looked sharp in net throughout camp.

Horoscope: As Venus prepares to move into Capricorn, don’t get too caught up in the fantasy of it all. Be realistic.

Do: Encourage practicality Don’t: Get cocky

• New York Islanders: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Gemini Mat Barzal is back with the Islanders after signing a three-year deal earlier in the week.

Horoscope: Keep your wits when making important decisions.

Do: Be decisive Don’t: Meander

• New Jersey Devils: Highest concentration in Scorpio

Gemini Sami Vatanen re-signed with the Devils late last week.

Horoscope: Venus leaves Sagittarius this week and into Capricorn, which could give Scorpio more time to play around. Focus on connections.

Do: Create defensive chemistry Don’t: Focus on the individual

• Philadelphia Flyers: Highest concentration in Taurus

Virgo Nolan Patrick has been practicing after dealing with migraines last season.

Horoscope: The Flyers represent chaos, Taurus represents stability. Lean into it.

Do: Priotize health Don’t: Let chaos stray

• Pittsburgh Penguins: Highest concentration in Leo/Taurus

The Penguins are seeking a solid start following a disappointing ending.

Horoscope: Mars entered the Leo tenth house of career ambition last week, which is the first time it’s had that placement in two years. This could be a good two months for pursuing goals.

Do: Hot starts Don’t: Flame out

lightning parade
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CENTRAL DIVISION

• Detroit Red Wings: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Leo Mathias Brome has been a standout in camp over the past week.

Horoscope: Mercury joined Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on Friday until March 15, a period that creates attention towards Aquarius. It’s time to be selective of who is invited in.

Do: Reward those who shine Don’t: React quickly to short-term failure

• Tampa Bay Lightning: Highest concentration in Gemini

All eyes are on the defending champions as they enter their season with out their leading scorer, Gemini Nikita Kucherov.

Horoscope: A Leo-Aquarius secondary placement is constantly tense, yet explosive. Aquarius entering Mercury is a good time to create some conversation and partnerships (perhaps like the AHL agreement with the Panthers).

Do: Communicate Don’t: Hold back

[PHT’s 2020-21 predictions: NHL Awards, first coach fired, free agent busts]

• Florida Panthers:  Highest concentration in Virgo

Capricorn Scott Darling just signed a PTO with the Panthers.

Horoscope: Mars in Taurus and Mercury in Aquarius tells a story of a team with a need to plan long-term.

Do: Be cautious Don’t: Escalate

Carolina Hurricanes: Highest concentration in Cancer

The Hurricanes enter the season as a favorite for a playoff position.

Horoscope: The Mars shift should have Cancers set in low-key. This could mean a calm start without much controversy.

Do: What works Don’t: Overthink it

• Nashville Predators: Highest concentration in Gemini

Last week they signed Sagittarius Luke Kunin.

Horoscope: Restless Mercury headed into Aquarius last Friday, which falls into the Gemini house for travel and adventure. Perhaps something big happens on the road.

Do: Explore Don’t: Be irresponsible

• Dallas Stars: Highest concentration in Gemini and Cancer

Sagittarius Jake Oettinger has shown positive signs at camp while Gemini Anton Khudobin dealt with visa issues.

Horoscope: Venus entering Capricorn is a time of commitment for Geminis. An extension could be on its way.

Do: Trust Don’t: Stray from what’s worked in the past

• Chicago Blackhawks: Heaviest concentration in Aries

The goalie battle bears watching heading into the season.

Horoscope: Mars sitting in Aries means change for Aries, which the Blackhawks roster has been through. Its departure means Aries will be placed in situations involving a lot of teamwork and collaboration.

Do: Work on chemistry Don’t: Be stubborn

• Columbus Blue Jackets: Heaviest concentration in Cancer

Aries Oliver Bjorkstrand signed a five-year extension with the Blue Jackets last week.

Horoscope: Mercury in Aquarius projects travel luck for Cancers, and the Blue Jackets will have a light-mileage start to their season. Division realignment gives restful opportunity.

Do: Use extra adrenaline to advantage Don’t: Get complacent

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WEST DIVISION

• Minnesota Wild: Highest concentration in Virgo and Cancer

Taurus rookie Kirill Kaprizov has dazzled in training camp.

Horoscope: An underlying of Taurus on the roster as well would give the impression of a grounded start to the season.

Do: Exude passion Don’t: Burn out

• St. Louis Blues: Highest concentration in Cancer and Aries

The late addition of Sagittarius Mike Hoffman should add an offensive spark.

Horoscope: The next eight weeks are a time of reunion for Aries as Mars enters Taurus. Watch for intense passion and enthusiasm.

Do: Fire away Don’t: Too much too soon

[Bold predictions for the 2020-21 NHL season]

• Arizona Coyotes: Highest concentration in Leo

Newcomer Derick Brassard, a Libra, is off to a hot start at camp.

Horoscope: Venus entering Capricorn is a transit that can generate intense energy for Leos. Look for a hot start to the season.

Do: Focus on chemistry Don’t: Be impatient

• San Jose Sharks: Highest concentration in Aries

Taurus Devan Dubnyk looks to be the Sharks answer in net.

Horoscope: The Mercury transit is longer than usual and all about long-term goals. Focus on the plan.

Do: Young guns Don’t: Overreact

• Vegas Golden Knights: Highest concentration in Leo

Capricorn Alex Pietrangelo is preparing for a big role in his first season with the Golden Knights.

Horoscope: Venus entering Capricorn is a good team for healing for Leos. Early success could put to rest any old negative feelings.

Do: Move forward Don’t: Repeat history

• Anaheim Ducks: Heaviest concentration in Aquarius

Watch for Aries prospect Trevor Zegras in the future following his big World Juniors showing.

Horoscope: Don’t fall in love with the unknown too much during this Venus shift. Trust your gut.

Do: Explore new possibilities Don’t: Be reactive

• Los Angeles Kings: Highest concentration in Libra

Leo newcomer Andreas Athanasiou should be an offensive sparkplug.

Horoscope: The longer Mercury transit leaves the Libra-extreme tendency to overindulge and into a more balanced perspective. The only caveat is to make sure intensity doesn’t swing into stress.

Do: Focus on the task at hand Don’t: Panic

• Colorado Avalanche: Highest concentration in Scorpio 

Gemini youngster Bo Byram hasn’t joined the Avs quite yet, but projects to earn a spot at age 19.

Horoscope: Scorpio’s attract Tauruses, and with Mars moving into Taurus it might be time to make a move for a grounding.

Do: Examine Don’t: Make excuses

• Detroit Red Wings: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Leo Mathias Brome has been a standout in camp over the past week.

Horoscope: Mercury joined Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on Friday until March 15, a period that creates attention towards Aquarius. It’s time to be selective of who is invited in.

Do: Reward those who shine Don’t: React quickly to short-term failure

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NORTH DIVISION

• Vancouver Canucks: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Sagittarius Nils Hoglander has surged throughout training camp.

Horoscope: The current Mercury placement screams for Taurus’ to invest in their own future. That could mean give young, homegrown talent early opportunities.

Do: Trust your own development Don’t: Waste time

• Calgary Flames: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

Calgary is a sleeper pick to have success in a North Division lacking predictability in the middle.

Horoscope: As Mars enters the third house with Jupiter and Uranus at the end of the month, the Aquarius-adjacent Pisces could face overwhelming communication, which could mean big news.

Do: Go for it Don’t: Fall into old habits

Edmonton Oilers: Heaviest concentration in Cancer Libra

Leo Tyson Barrie is projected to be an impact defender following a disappointing campaign in Toronto.

Horoscope: The recent Mars placement indicates intensity for Libras, who only get this placement once every two years. Following a sleepy Aries period, it’s time to move.

Do: Hot starts Don’t: Rust

• Winnipeg Jets: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Taurus Connor Hellebyuck is coming off of a Vezina season.

Horoscope: The Jets do have some Capricorn undertones. Expect a workman-like start to the season with a touch of Venus-intensity.

Do: Invest Don’t: Hang out to dry

• Ottawa Senators: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

Capricorn rookie Tim Stützle could breakout following an impressive World Juniors.

Horoscope: Focus on building out long-term momentum without getting ahead of yourself. Mars creates plenty of motivation without burning out.

Do: Improve daily Don’t: Bite off more than you can chew

• Montreal Canadiens: Heaviest concentration in Leo and Taurus

Newcomer Taurus Tyler Toffoli looks to make an impact.

Horoscope: This is a big year for Leo and Taurus, both fixed signs in a Saturn Aquarius period. Look for big movement.

Do: Adjust Don’t: Be stagnant

• Toronto Maple Leafs: Heaviest concentration in Gemini

Cancer Joe Thornton has already seen ample minutes in training camp.

Horoscope: A heavier travel schedule than usual will be an adjustment. Geminis might have the opportunity to create their own luck.

Do: Look on the bright side Don’t: Heavy expectations

______________________________

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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    Stars expect to open camp without unsigned scorer Jason Robertson

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    FRISCO, Texas — Young 40-goal scorer Jason Robertson is expected to miss the start of training camp for the Dallas Stars because the team and the restricted free agent haven’t agreed on a new contract.

    General manager Jim Nill said there’s been steady, ongoing negotiations over the last couple of weeks with Robertson and his representatives. Nill wouldn’t say what has kept the two sides from reaching a deal, adding there have been “very good discussions.”

    The Stars, with new coach Pete DeBoer, open camp Thursday in Cedar Park, Texas, at the home of their AHL team. They have three days of work there before returning to North Texas for their exhibition opener at home on Monday night. They open the regular season Oct. 13 at Nashville.

    “I think he’s disappointed he’s not at camp, we are too,” Nill said before the team departed for the Austin area. “I think it’s very important for a younger player and as you mentioned, the (new) coaching staff. … We do have some time on our side, but we wish he gets here as soon as he can.”

    Robertson had a base salary of $750,000 last season, the end of a $2.775 million, three-year contract. He still has five more years before he has the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent.

    The left wing turned 23 soon after the end of last season, when he had 41 goals and 38 assists for 79 points in his 74 games. Robertson joined Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as the only 40-goal scorers since the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993.

    A second-round draft pick by the Stars in 2017, Robertson has 125 points (58 goals, 67 assists) in his 128 NHL games. He had one goal and three assists in his first postseason action last season, when Dallas lost its first-round playoff series in seven games against Calgary.

    DeBoer said he looks forward to coaching Robertson, but that the forward’s absence won’t change his plans for camp.

    “It doesn’t impact what I’m doing,” DeBoer said. “Listen, I laid awake at night with the excitement of coaching Jason Robertson, 40-plus goals, but he’s not here. So, you know, until he gets here, I can’t spend any energy on that.”

    Nill said the Stars are open to a long-term extension or a bridge contract for Robertson, who was part of the team’s top line last season with veteran Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz. They combined for 232 points, the second-most in franchise history for a trio.

    “We’re open to anything. But other than that … I’m not going to negotiate through the media,” Nill said. “As I said, we’ve had good conversations. We’ll see where it goes.”

    Training camps open around NHL after another short offseason

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    Training camps open around the NHL after another short offseason, a third in a row squeezed by the pandemic. That doesn’t bother Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon one bit.

    For one of hockey’s best players and his teammates, it’s already time to get back on the ice and defend their Stanley Cup title, less than three months since they knocked off the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

    “I still feel like I just was playing,” MacKinnon said. “I took two weeks off, and then I started skating again. It’s just fun. I enjoy it, and I like the short summer. It feels like the season’s just kind of rolling over again.”

    The NHL rolls into fall coming off an entertaining playoffs and final with the chance to finally get back on a normal schedule. That means full camps for teams that got new coaches and the benefits of a regular routine.

    That means a mere 88 days between Game 6 of the final and the first-on ice practice sessions.

    “We’re kind of used to it now,” Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy said after he and the Lightning lost in the final for the first time in three consecutive trips. “It’s a little harder, of course, because you don’t have that much time to rest. It’s basically a few weeks and you have to get back at it. But, yeah, I can’t complain. You want your summers to be short every year.”

    It was a little longer for Connor McDavid and the Oilers after losing to Colorado in the West final. Despite the lack of downtime, McDavid “wouldn’t trade that in for anything” and aims to make it even further since Edmonton shored up its goaltending situation by adding Jack Campbell.

    A few spins of the goalie carousel ended with the Avalanche acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers and Cup winner Darcy Kuemper landing with Washington. Joining new teammates, many of whom hoisted the Cup in 2018, Kuemper is not worried about less time off.

    “It was definitely a very unique summer,” Kuemper said. “With how short it was, you start getting back into the gym and you’re kind of a little bit worried that your training’s going to be so short. But you kind of felt like you weren’t getting back into shape. You were already there.”

    NEW COACHES

    The Oilers are one of several teams settling in for training camp under a new coach. Jay Woodcroft took over as interim coach in February but has the full-time job now.

    “Looking forward to a camp with him,” McDavid said. “He did a great job coming in during the middle of the season, but it’s never easy on a coach, for sure. I’m sure there’s things that he wanted to touch on that you wasn’t able to kind of in the middle of the year, so he’ll be able to to touch on all of it this year.”

    The same goes for Bruce Boudreau in Vancouver, 11 months since being put in charge of the Canucks. Philadelphia’s John Tortorella, Boston’s Jim Montgomery, Vegas’ Bruce Cassidy, Dallas’ Peter DeBoer, Florida’s Paul Maurice, Chicago’s Luke Richardson, Detroit’s Derek Lalonde and the New York Islanders’ Lane Lambert are all starting the job fresh.

    CAMP TRYOUTS

    Roughly 40 players are attending a camp on a professional tryout agreement with the chance to earn a contract for the season. James Neal has that opportunity with the Blue Jackets, and Derek Stepan returned to Carolina to seek a job with the Hurricanes.

    The most intriguing situation involves 37-year-old center Eric Staal, who agreed to the tryout with Florida the same time brother Marc signed a one-year contract. Younger brother Jordan was with Eric and Marc on the 18th green at Pebble Beach to witness the occasion.

    “They’re both just super pumped, as was I,” said Jordan Staal, who is the captain of the Hurricanes. “Eric is excited about the opportunity and Marc, as well. Really cool. Really cool thing.”

    EARLY START

    Before the puck drops on the NHL season in North America on Oct. 11, the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks play twice in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8. And those are not exhibitions.

    “We still play two important games,” said Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, who is a native of Prague. “It’s not just preseason where you coming here to warm up.”

    Colorado and Columbus will also play two games in Tampere, Finland, on Nov. 4-5 as part of the NHL’s Global Series.

    And just as the league gets used to a regular schedule, work is ongoing between the league and NHL Players’ Association to stage a World Cup of Hockey in February 2024, which is popular among players even if it knocks the calendar off kilter again.

    “I think they missed out on a huge, huge portion of the international game that’s really going to be missed,” McDavid said. “We need to figure out a way to get an international tournament in as quickly as possible.”

    Matthew Tkachuk, Panthers ready for 1st training camp together

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    CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — Aleksander Barkov was sound asleep at his home in Finland when the trade that brought Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers was finalized, which isn’t surprising considering it was around 4 a.m. in that part of the world.

    He woke up and read texts from friends reacting to the deal.

    And it wasn’t too long before he got a message from Tkachuk.

    “The first message was `(expletive) right’ and how he was excited to come to Florida,” Barkov, the Panthers’ captain, said at Florida’s media day. “`Let’s take this next step, let’s be a winning team for many years to come.’ That’s who he is. He wants to win. He wants to bring that character to this organization. And I think he’s done some damage already.”

    With that, Barkov was sold.

    And after a few weeks of informally skating with one another, the Panthers start the process of officially seeing what they have in Tkachuk when the team’s training camp – the first under new coach Paul Maurice – opens.

    “We’ve basically had everybody here for a few weeks,” Tkachuk said. “I feel like I’ve been in training camp for a couple of weeks. So today doesn’t feel that new to me. I’ve gotten to know everybody … so let’s get these games going. I’m sick and tired of just practicing and working. I want to start playing some games. I think everybody feels the same way.”

    Maurice was hired over the summer as well, inheriting a team that won the Presidents’ Trophy last season and went to the second round of the playoffs — the first series win for Florida since the run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1996.

    He’s as eager as the players are for the first formal practice, calling it “our first Christmas.”

    “The house is bought. Most of the boxes are unpacked,” Maurice said. “I’ve got two kids that kind of came with me; one’s in Coral Gables, one’s in Estero. Their places are unpacked. They’re out of our house. Once you get down here, for me, you spend most of your days at the rink. So, experiencing all of South Florida, we haven’t gotten to that yet.”

    As part of the deal that went down on July 22, the 24-year-old Tkachuk signed a eight-year, $76 million contract. That’s not the only big cost that the Panthers had to agree to while executing the trade; they also sent Jonathan Huberdeau, the franchise’s all-time scoring leader, and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a left wing who had career bests of 42 goals, 62 assists and 104 points last season.

    “I wish all the best to Huby and Weegs,” Barkov said. “They’re great. Everyone loved them. Only good things to say about them. It happens, and for sure, it was best for the team and organization to do this. We move on, and we’ll get ready for a new season.”

    BOBROVSKY’S SUMMER

    Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is Russian, still makes his home in St. Petersburg, and went there for the bulk of his offseason.

    He said it was not logistically difficult to travel there (or return to the U.S.) this summer, even as the war that started when Russia invaded Ukraine continues. Bobrovsky said last season that he was not trying to focus on anything but hockey, and when asked if it was difficult to be back in Russia as war continues he kept the same approach.

    “I had a good summer,” Bobrovsky said. “I saw friends, I saw family. It’s all been fine. I don’t want to talk about what’s going on. I’m not involved in that stuff.”

    CAMP ROSTER

    Florida is opening camp with 56 players – 31 forwards, 19 defensemen and six goalies. That group includes brothers Eric Staal and Marc Staal; Marc Staal signed as a free agent in July; Eric Staal is with Florida on a tryout contract.

    Coyotes sign Barrett Hayton right before training camp

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    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes signed forward Barrett Hayton to a two-year contract right before the start of training camp.

    Terms of the deal were not released.

    The 22-year-old Hayton was a restricted free agent and not initially listed on Arizona’s roster for camp.

    Hayton had 10 goals and 14 assists in 60 games with the Coyotes last season, all career highs.

    Arizona drafted the Peterborough, Ontario native with the fifth overall pick of the 2018 NHL draft. He has 13 goals and 18 assists in 94 career games with the Coyotes.