NHL Horoscopes Week 9: New moon approaching

A nice Pisces new moon this week in the middle of Pisces season should bring some relaxing energy ahead of Aries season, but the Gemini Mars cycle is set to make everything just a little messier for sure.

Teams are doing a solid job creating their own cosmic luck — or messes — but the changing of the stars always means there’s room for more.

Stat Leaders

Connor McDavid: 45 points, 30 assists (Capricorn)
Auston Matthews: 18 goals (Virgo)
Erik Gudbranson: 39 PIM (Capricorn)
Andrei Vasilevskiy: .939 Save % (Cancer)


• Boston Bruins: Highest concentration in Taurus

Sagittarius Charlie McAvoy continues to be the bright spot on defense.

Horoscope: The Taurus cycle is relatively quiet now until the moon next week. Look for peace.

Do: Any secondary scoring Don’t: Get too physical

• Buffalo Sabres: Highest concentration in Sagittarius

Still an NHL team.

Horoscope: A Pisces new moon at the end of the week is sure to affect Sagittarius’ but the Sabres need more help than that.

Do: Idk not this x2 Don’t: I mean what is there to say

• Washington Capitals: Highest concentration in Taurus

A newsworthy week for Gemini Tom Wilson!

Horoscope: The changing Taurus cycle hasn’t been the best for one Tom Wilson.

Do: Offensive chemistry Don’t: Bad hits

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

• New York Rangers: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Libra rookie Alexis Lafrenière is coming around.

Horoscope: There’s an Aquarius moon on Wednesday and it’s everyone’s problem.

Do: Rookies Don’t: Fall behind

• New York Islanders: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Here come the Islanders! Leo goalie Ilya Sorokin has performed well when called upon.

Horoscope: This year’s Aquarius Mercury has really worked in the Islanders favor.

Do: Get offense moving Don’t: Stagnate up top.

• New Jersey Devils: Highest concentration in Scorpio

Well, Taurus Jack Hughes has played pretty well.

Horoscope: This should be a quiet week for Scorpios, which could be good or bad for the Devils.

Do: Mackenzie Blackwood Don’t: Lose defensive edge

• Philadelphia Flyers: Highest concentration in Taurus

Gemini goalie Carter Hart has to show more.

Horoscope: We’re still in Taurus Uranus for a long time yet, so it’s as a good a time as any to keep creative.

Do: Joel Farabee Don’t: Get impatient with goalies

• Pittsburgh Penguins: Highest concentration in Leo/Taurus

Leo Evgeni Malkin is starting to play really well.

Horoscope: This is a stagnant time for Leos. Try to find your own energy, especially in an environment when it’s tough to feed off others’ energy.

Do: Defense and goaltending Don’t: Drop overtimes

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• Detroit Red Wings: Highest concentration in Aquarius

Pisces Bobby Ryan has been a good story.

Horoscope: There’s time yet in this Mercury cycle to get creative and fun.

Do: Get that power play going Don’t: Falter hard

• Tampa Bay Lightning: Highest concentration in Gemini

Cancer Mikhail Sergachev has made huge strides this season.

Horoscope: Welcome to Gemini Mars season, where focusing is a challenge. Try to ignore that trait and keep locked in.

Do: Defense defense defense Don’t: Assume too much

[NHL Power Rankings: Fleury, Stone drive Golden Knights to top]

• Florida Panthers:  Highest concentration in Virgo

Virgo Aleksander Barkov has been downright dominant this season.

Horoscope: The Pisces new moon is sure to have an affect on Virgos. Make some commitments for the long-term in this cycle.

Do: Dominant best players Don’t: Over rely on goalies.

Carolina Hurricanes: Highest concentration in Cancer

Cancer Vincent Trocheck is playing some of the best hockey of his career.

Horoscope: A quiet time for Cancers yet the Hurricanes keep trudging along.

Do: Offensive breakouts Don’t: Succumb to tough schedule

• Nashville Predators: Highest concentration in Gemini

It’s almost selling season!

Horoscope: This Mars cycle has the potential to be real disjointed, which could be dangerous for a team that needs a rebuild.

Do: Trades Don’t: Not trading bad contracts

• Dallas Stars: Highest concentration in Gemini and Cancer

Perhaps it’s injuries, but nothing is going right for the Stars of late.

Horoscope: Every time a cycle says the Stars will get back on track they do everything they can to deny it.

Do: Scoring Don’t: Spiral

• Chicago Blackhawks: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Sagittarius Alex DeBrincat has continued to be a bright spot.

Horoscope: This week’s Aries moon could give Chicago a nice little short-term boost.

Do: Top line Don’t: Ignore the need for secondary scoring

• Columbus Blue Jackets: Heaviest concentration in Cancer

It’s starting to feel a bit out of reach for the Blue Jackets.

Horoscope: Cancer coach John Tortorella recently got a vote of confidence but they are going to need more than that.

Do: Some sort of change Don’t: Overcommit

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• Minnesota Wild: Highest concentration in Virgo and Cancer

It’s still the Kirill Kaprizov Show in Minnesota. The Taurus rookie has been outstanding.

Horoscope: This week’s Pisces moon should give them a nice little boost.

Do: Kaprizov Don’t: Fall off

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

Sagittarius Vladimir Tarasenko is back and that’s really good news.

Horoscope: Turns out the Blues just needed to get their best scorers to star scoring. Should be a nice Aries moon cycle for them.

Do: Offense Don’t: Lose track

• Arizona Coyotes: Highest concentration in Leo

Pisces Conor Garland is pretty impressive overall.

Horoscope: This should be a restful time for Leos but that’s almost never the case for the Coyotes.

Do: Consistent scoring Don’t: Lose consistency from young players

• San Jose Sharks: Highest concentration in Aries

Well, Aries Logan Couture has been good.

Horoscope: This has just been a bad time for the Sharks.

Do: Focus on the future Don’t: Idk any of this

• Vegas Golden Knights: Highest concentration in Leo

Sagittarius Marc-Andre Fleury is having a Vezina-like season.

Horoscope: The Knights are so talented everything just seems to click for them no matter what the stars say should be.

Do: Marc-Andre Fleury Don’t: Ignore safety

• Anaheim Ducks: Heaviest concentration in Aquarius

If the Ducks were better, Capricorn Max Comtois would be getting some serious hype.

Horoscope: This has been the most Aquarius type of season ever for the most Aquarius team in the league, which tracks with the Mercury cycle.

Do: Young players Don’t: Keep surrendering leads

• Los Angeles Kings: Highest concentration in Libra

The older players have been solid but Virgo Adrian Kempe has really stepped it up.

Horoscope: A weird time for Libras and the Kings are a pretty weird team.

Do: Just keep going for it Don’t: Forget progress

• Colorado Avalanche: Highest concentration in Scorpio 

Virgo Nathan MacKinnon made a much needed return to the lineup.

Horoscope: As players come back from injury, the Avs really don’t need any more cosmic hype anyways.

Do: Best players back Don’t: Lose depth

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• Vancouver Canucks: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Some of it is scheduling related but it feels almost impossible for the Canucks to have time to turn things around.

Horoscope: It feels kind of too late for the Canucks, honestly.

Do: Defensive issues Don’t: Drop games you should win (yeah I know that’s obvious)

• Calgary Flames: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

Leo Darryl Sutter took over behind the bench this week.

Horoscope: This has been a rough go of it during Pisces season, and now a coaching change is the result.

Do: Beat the teams you have to beat Don’t: Overreact

Edmonton Oilers: Heaviest concentration in Cancer and Libra

Taurus Jesse Puljujarvi has really come around this season.

Horoscope: This should be a quieter week for the Oilers all around which maybe they need after rough showings with the Leafs.

Do: Best players Don’t: Fall behind the only good team in the divsion too far

• Winnipeg Jets: Heaviest concentration in Aries

Are the Jets actually good? Well, Pisces Mark Schiefele is having a really strong campaign.

Horoscope: The Jets resilience this season has been pretty remarkable. This moon cycle could help them too.

Do: Offensive surge Don’t: Fall down further

• Ottawa Senators: Heaviest concentration in Pisces

If their on the ice play hasn’t been entertaining enough, the chaos they cause in the North sure is.

Horoscope: Weird Pisces season and a weird Senators team it all makes sense.

Do: Keep spoiling the other teams Don’t: Get caught up in everyone else

• Montreal Canadiens: Heaviest concentration in Leo and Taurus

Taurus Tyler Toffoli remains one of the positives in the scoring department.

Horoscope: Kind of a weird vibe right now.

Do: Secondary scoring Don’t: Panic

• Toronto Maple Leafs: Heaviest concentration in Gemini

Aquarius Justin Holl is having one of the most underrated seasons in the league.

Horoscope: Another solid week for Geminis and another week where the Leafs look ridiculously good against their competition.

Do: Go on a roll Don’t: Let worse teams bring you down

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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    Ducks hire former Leafs, Islanders assistant Greg Cronin as head coach

    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Anaheim Ducks have hired veteran NHL assistant and AHL head coach Greg Cronin to be their new head coach.

    Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek announced the decision to hire the 60-year-old Cronin, who will be a first-time NHL head coach.

    Cronin has 12 years of experience as an NHL assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs and in two stints with the New York Islanders. The Massachusetts native has been the head coach of the AHL’s Colorado Eagles since 2018, and he spent six years as a collegiate head coach at Northeastern.

    Verbeek called Cronin “the ideal fit” to take over a young, rebuilding team.

    “I felt we needed a teacher of the finer points of the game, and someone who has worked extensively over time with talented young players, helping them develop into successful NHL players,” Verbeek said. “Greg has done all that and more.”

    Cronin replaces Dallas Eakins, whose contract wasn’t renewed in April after the Ducks finished their fourth consecutive losing season of his tenure. Anaheim finished in last place in the overall NHL standings at 23-47-12.

    The Ducks never finished higher than sixth in the Pacific Division during Eakins’ four years in charge. They’ve missed the playoffs in a franchise-record five straight seasons, and Anaheim was the NHL’s worst defensive team of the 21st century by several measures during the just-completed season.

    Cronin takes over a struggling team that is still loaded with young talent, including the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft and a wealth of farm prospects seemingly ready to break into the NHL. Anaheim has a solid long-term base with playmaking center Trevor Zegras, two-time All-Star Troy Terry and promising forward Mason McTavish.

    Cronin has never led an NHL bench, but he interviewed for the Boston Bruins’ vacancy a year ago.

    He becomes only the Ducks’ fourth permanent head coach since Henry and Susan Samueli bought the franchise from Disney in 2005, joining Randy Carlyle, Bruce Boudreau and Eakins.

    Canadiens sign Cole Caufield to 8-year, $62.8 million extension

    David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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    MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens signed Cole Caufield to an eight-year, $62.8 million contract extension.

    The deal, which will pay the 22-year-old winger an average annual salary of $7.85 million, runs through the 2030-31 season.

    Caufield scored 26 goals and added 10 assists in 46 games in 2022-23 before he underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder in February.

    Despite missing nearly half the season, Caufield led the Canadiens in goals for the second consecutive season, tied with Nick Suzuki.

    Montreal selected Caufield in the first round (15th overall) of the 2019 draft.

    Since making his NHL debut in 2020-21, the forward has 84 points (53 goals, 31 assists) in 123 NHL games.

    Vegas Golden Knights come back to beat Florida Panthers in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

    LAS VEGAS – Back in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in five years and trailing the Florida Panthers less than 10 minutes into Game 1, the Vegas Golden Knights sent a very clear message.

    “We were ready,” Jonathan Marchessault said.

    Ready and dominant. Vegas rallied from an early deficit, got the go-ahead goal from Zach Whitecloud with just over 13 minutes left and arguably the best save of the playoffs from Adin Hill and beat Florida 5-2 Saturday night to take the lead in the best-of-seven series.

    “We kept out composure, and it was good,” said Marchessault, one of six original Knights players left from the start of the franchise in 2017 who scored the tying goal in the first period. “We just wanted to play the right way and be disciplined, and tonight we were able to be the better team.”

    Whitecloud put Vegas ahead, a crucial penalty kill followed and captain Mark Stone scored an insurance goal that was reviewed for a high stick and confirmed. Reilly Smith sealed it with an empty-netter to make the score look more lopsided than the game.

    The combination of that offense and Hill’s 33 saves put Vegas up after a feisty opener between Sun Belt teams who wasted little time getting acquainted with big hits during play and plenty of post-whistle pushing and shoving.

    “It’s exactly what we expected,” said Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore, who scored his first goal of the playoffs and ended a 27-game drought dating to March 7. “That’s how they wanted to play. We were just trying not to play into it.”

    That stuff is just beginning. Game 2 is Monday in Las Vegas.

    Before the Panthers even get a chance to respond, they ratcheted up the physical play late after falling behind by two. A handful of penalties resulting from a fracas with 4:24 remaining left the Florida bench well short.

    The outcome was determined long before that.

    After falling behind on a short-handed goal by Eric Staal that sucked the life out of the crowd of 18,432, the Golden Knights rallied for their ninth comeback win this playoffs. Marchessault – known since arriving in Las Vegas for scoring big goals – answered before the end of the first period.

    Early in the second, Hill made a desperation stick save to rob Nick Cousins of what would have been a sure goal. The save was reminiscent of the one Washington’s Braden Holtby made against Vegas – in the same crease – five years ago.

    “That’s an unreal save – it’s a game-changer,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You need those saves at key moments.”

    Giving up a tying goal to Anthony Duclair with 10.2 seconds left in the second did not slow the Golden Knights’ momentum much. Whitecloud’s goal, with two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky screened and unable to see, fired up fans once again.

    Bobrovsky, in the final for the first time, downplayed any reason for concern after stopping 29 of 34 shots and losing for just the second time in 12 games this postseason.

    “I played a good game,” Bobrovsky said. “I played a solid game. They created some good chances other than goals. They had lots of good scoring chances, and that was fun.”

    Part of the fun came when play was stopped.

    Less than 10 minutes in, Hill was none too happy about Nick Cousins crashing into his crease and gave the agitating Panthers winger a jab that incited a handful of scrums. During the second period, Matthew Tkachuk let Vegas’ Nic Hague know he wasn’t thrilled about a hit in the corner on Cousins and a collision with Brandon Montour after the whistle.

    “If guys are going to come in my crease and try to push me around, I’m going to stand my own ground,” Hill said. “I’m not going to do anything too crazy or get too wild, but, yeah, I’ve got to stand up for myself.”

    Florida coach Paul Maurice, back in the final for the first time since 2001, displayed a similarly calm demeanor as he did all the way back in the first round, when his team fell behind 1-0 then 3-1 to NHL-best Boston before winning in seven.

    “It’s going to be tight,” Maurice said. “Everybody breathe.”

    The Golden Knights are in the final for the second time in six years of existence, five years after making it in their inaugural season. Vegas won the opener in 2018 and lost the series to Washington in five games.

    The Panthers are back playing for the Cup for the first time since 1996. Florida got swept by Colorado in that final 27 years ago, 18 months before Tkachuk, the team’s leading scorer this playoffs, was born.

    It’s the 66th different matchup of teams in the Cup final in NHL history and the 46th since the expansion era began in 1967-68. This is the first time since Washington-Vegas and just the third time since the turn of the century in which the final features two teams who have never won the league’s championship.

    Penguins name former Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas as director of hockey operations

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) Kyle Dubas wanted to take a breath and take a break after being fired as the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Then the Pittsburgh Penguins called.

    The break ended shortly thereafter.

    Dubas joined the Penguins as the team’s president of hockey operations, less than two weeks after a somewhat ugly exit from Toronto following a second-round playoff loss to Florida.

    The 37-year-old Dubas goes from one type of hockey crucible to another. In Toronto, he was tasked with helping the Maple Leafs emerge from two decades of postseason futility. In Pittsburgh, his mission will be to prop open the Stanley Cup window for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang a little longer.

    All three are 35 or older and haven’t won a playoff series since 2018. Yet Dubas believes strongly the issue isn’t the age of the franchise’s core but deficiencies elsewhere on the roster. Dubas replaces Brian Burke, who was fired along with general manager Ron Hextall in April after the Penguins failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

    “I heard a lot of people that were highly skeptical of the team’s ability to contend here and the way I view it, if the people want to bet against (Crosby, Letang and Malkin) they can go ahead and do so,” Dubas said. “But I’m going to bet on them and go with them here. I think it is a group that’s capable of contending to win a championship.”

    Crosby and Malkin were excellent for much of last season and Letang showed remarkable resiliency while dealing with multiple setbacks, including a stroke and the death of his father. Yet save for a 14-2-2 stretch in November and December, the Penguins struggled to find consistency and ultimately stumbled down the stretch to snap the longest active playoff streak in major North American Sports.

    While the Penguins do have $20 million in cap space and the 14th overall pick in this month’s NHL draft, significant changes or upgrades could be difficult in the short term.

    Dubas inherits a team that was the oldest in the NHL last season and is littered with question marks, particularly in goal and the forward group outside of Crosby, Malkin and Jake Guentzel.

    Two-time All-Star goaltender Tristan Jarry will become a free agent this summer and was beset by injuries over the second half of the season. Forward Jason Zucker, who served as the emotional sparkplug for long stretches, is also scheduled to hit the open market and may have priced himself out of town.

    Pittsburgh also has several aging players with full or partial no-movement clauses, including 38-year-old forward Jeff Carter, 30-year-old Bryan Rust and 35-year-old defenseman Jeff Petry.

    “I think that those are obviously very real situations, everyone knows that they exist,” Dubas said. “To me the effect on it … is what we can add in terms of depth pieces? What we can add in terms of younger players? That’ll be the real key.”

    Dubas does plan to hire a general manager to fill the vacancy created when Hextall was let go after a short but largely unfruitful tenure. Dubas will serve as the GM on an interim basis until early July.

    Dubas comes to Pittsburgh after nine seasons with the Maple Leafs, including the last five as general manager. Toronto won a postseason series for the first time since 2004 this spring before falling to the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference semifinals in five games.

    Shortly after the Maple Leafs’ playoff exit, Dubas said that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to remain in Toronto. His contract was set to expire on June 30, but team president Kyle Shanahan opted to pre-emptively fire Dubas instead. Toronto hired former Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving as Dubas’ replacement.

    Dubas helped build the Maple Leafs into a regular-season power during his tenure. Toronto set single-season records for wins and points, and went 221-109-42 in his tenure. Dubas also didn’t shy away from big moves – he fired Stanley Cup-winning coach Mike Babcock in November 2019 and replaced him with Sheldon Keefe – but struggled to find the right mix in the playoffs until this spring.

    In the end, advancing beyond the first round for the first time since 2004 wasn’t enough for Dubas to remain in Toronto.

    He joked he was maybe a little “too honest” during his season-ending press conference with the Maple Leafs when he expressed reservations about returning. Shanahan’s abrupt decision to move on came as a bit of a surprise, and Dubas planned to take some time to hit the reset button before looking for another job.

    Yet the Penguins – who’d already been given clearance by the Maple Leafs to interview Dubas – provided a compelling reason to speed up the timetable. Dubas’ due diligence included speaking to Crosby and longtime coach Mike Sullivan to take the pulse of a leadership group that remains firmly in place.

    Dubas called them “some of the best competitors” in hockey. Competitors that have – for one reason or another – been unable to recapture the magic of their runs to back-to-back Cups in 2016 and 2017.

    Time is running out for Crosby to put his name on the Cup for a fourth time in a career that will almost certainly end in the Hall of Fame. Dubas knows he’ll be judged in part on whether he can make that happen. After taking more than six weeks of searching before landing on Dubas, Fenway Sports Group Chairman Tom Werner believes Dubas is up to the challenge.

    “Our philosophy is giving Kyle and his associates the best possible resources to win,” Werner said. “Kyle’s been very articulate today about his path to success … we’re very confident that Kyle will execute the plan he’s articulated to us.”