For the Boston Bruins, everything flows from one question.
Will Patrice Bergeron return or retire?
That decision solely is in the hands of Bergeron, the Bruins captain and No. 1 center. He said Wednesday that he would be taking time to evaluate his future with his family, figuring out whether he might have the desire to come back for his 19th NHL season, all of them in Boston.
His choice will determine the next course of action for the Bruins.
One thing is settled, it seems: General manager Don Sweeney will return for his eighth season. Bruins president Cam Neely said he intends to finalize a contract with Sweeney in the near future.
But the status of coach Bruce Cassidy, who finished his sixth season, appears less certain.
Neely said he has yet to talk through Cassidy's status with Sweeney, who will have the ultimate call on the coach's job. Since Cassidy replaced Claude Julien on Feb. 7, 2017, the Bruins have a .672 points percentage (245-108-46), second only to the Tampa Bay Lightning (.698).
"I think we have to look at making some changes as far as how we play and the way we do some of the things," Neely said Thursday. "I think Bruce is a fantastic coach. He's brought a lot of success to this organization. I like him as a coach. We'll see where it goes. But I do think we need to make some changes."
The question is how deep those will changes go.