-- It has come to that time of the hour where the New Jersey Devils
might have to contemplate life without goalie Martin Brodeur
and captain Zach Parise
if the season does indeed come to a sudden halt on Tuesday at Prudential Center.
The Devils need to win the final two games of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the Florida Panthers
if they have any intention of extending their season in 2011-12.
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 3
SOG: 21 | +/-: -1
At the same time, both Brodeur and Parise will become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. While the chances of Brodeur signing with another team seem rather unlikely at his age, that will not be the case with Parise.
Both players contemplated their futures during a conference call on Sunday afternoon.
"Career-wise, I don't feel it'll be the last of it, but I think opportunity-wise, you never know," Brodeur said. "Even if I decide to come back, who knows what type of position we'll be in at this time next year? Now, we're in a position to stay alive in the playoffs and I want to try and do as much as I can. It's in the back of my head, just because of the opportunity we have with a team I really enjoyed playing with all year and I just want to keep this going.
"Regardless of future will bring, that's irrelevant for me right now."
For the season, Brodeur finished 31-21-4 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 59 appearances. He reached 30-plus wins for an NHL-record 14th time and is first all-time with 65 overtime triumphs.
Parise, meanwhile, was one of only five Devils to appear in all 82 regular-season games this season. He finished second on the team with 31 goals and was third in assists (38) and points (69). He became only the second player in team history to score 30 goals five times.
When asked to comment about his future with the Devils, however, Parise preferred not to dwell on the unknown.
"It's blocked out," Parise said. "I don't think about it. I don't really want to talk about it."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale