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Drop the puck on 2009-10

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  August 28, 2009 03:55 PM

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Marc Savard, the team's leading scorer in each of the last three seasons, is looking for even better things in 2009-10. (Justine Hunt/Globe Staff)

The Bruins will begin informal practices next week at Ristuccia Arena. The first session of 2009-10 will take place on Monday at 11 a.m. No word on which players will be skating.

To prod the pucks appetite, here are some of the bigger issues heading into the new season:

1. Sky-high expectations. They're coming off a runaway regular-season Eastern Conference crown. The Bruins will bring back the defending Jack Adams, Norris, and Vezina winners. What comes next?

2. The possible last look at Marc Savard. The playmaking center is entering the final season of a four-year contract. He's a bargain at $5 million, and will be hard to re-sign given the expected cap crunch and the raise he'll deserve. Will his push for a new deal and his aim to prove the Canadian Olympic bosses wrong provide for motivation?

3. What's asked of Tim Thomas. Unbelievably, for the first time as an NHLer, Thomas enters a season as the clear-cut No. 1 goalie. He'll be entering the first season of his four-year, $20 million contract. Will he fulfill his new deal?

4. When, and for how much, will Phil Kessel re-sign? With a trade or offer sheet looking unlikely, the fourth-year pro should be back in a Boston uniform. But for how much?

5. How will Derek Morris perform for his new club? If he plays like a No. 2 defenseman, Morris will give the defense a more mobile look and be worth his $3.3 million contract. If he doesn't perform like a No. 2, then the Bruins overpaid.

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