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Lunchtime Links: Two Game Winning Streak Edition

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Canucks creep closer to the playoff bar by beating two slumping teams in the southwest.

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After beating Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes with Canucks' moms in tow, Vancouver is tied with Minnesota Wild two points behind Nashville Predators and Colorado for a Wild Card playoff spot. The Wild have a game in hand, but the Avs have played two more games than Vancouver. We'll see if the Canucks can keep pace without Alex Edler and Brandon Sutter, or if one of the teams in the vaunted Central Division can put together a win streak, ensuring five teams from the Central Divison make the playoffs.

The stars of this road trip were clearly the moms. If you watched the Colorado game, you saw Dan Murphy interview Matt Bartkowski's mother, Beth. If you missed it, she was on TSN 1040 yesterday giving an interview for the ages. It's the best, most fun thing I've heard on that station in a very, very long time.

With Edler and Sutter out for awhile, the Canucks have recalled Yannick Weber and Alex Friesen. Jeremy Davis of Canucks Army says this continues a season-long trend toward calling up any player who might be considered a prospect for a look with the Canucks. If Friesen plays, Davis points out he'll be the first member of the 2010 draft class to play for the Canucks.

Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports 98.7 interviewed former Coyote Radim Vrbata about the uncertainty he faces both as the trade deadline approaches, and as a 34-year-old player in an era of a flat salary cap. Vrbata's wife is pregnant and due in May or June, so if he gets traded he'll leave his family behind in Vancouver until the summer.

Looking at the trade market, Bob McKenzie says Jim Benning has yet to receive a single call inquiring about Dan Hamhuis. McKenzie attribues this to the fact that everything is still on the table -- Hamhuis re-signing in Vancouver, refusing to waive his NTC and going UFA, or the Canucks asking him to waive in a week or two. Jim Benning seems content to see where the team is in a couple weeks, and Hamhuis seems focused on proving he's healthy and can still play at a high level. McKenzie also discusses Kris Russell and Travis Hamonic. Frank Seravalli also has some notes about trade deadline defensive targets.

Bob McKenzie discussed Dan Hamhuis on TSN 1040 this afternoon. He thinks the Canucks should expect a significant pick and a lower-level prospect.

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News hosted a chat on Monday in which he wished the Dallas Stars would target Alex Edler at the deadline. Not that he believes Edler will be moved, just that he thinks Edler is what the Stars need.

Prices could be down for rental players at the deadline, according to Pierre LeBrun of Great! Just when the Canucks become sellers.

Vancouver's next opponent, the Toronto Maple Leafs, have lots to do still, even after unloading Dion Phaneuf. James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail breaks it down. Down Goes Brown says both the Leafs and Senators look smart after the Phaneuf trade. Ottawa Senators have emerged as front runners for Jonathan Drouin, according to a TVA report (you can access the original French report here). The Tampa Bay Lightning may be targeting Cody Cici.

In honor of the relatively poor Super Bowl game this year, Down Goes Brown compiled a list of the worst Stanley Cup Finals in history. The 1982 Canucks vs New York Islanders series is number five.

The four surviving 1968 expansion teams released their 50th Anniversary logos on Tuesday.

Paul Kukla of Kukla's Corner compiles the odds online betting sites are currently giving for teams to win the Stanley Cup. Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks are the clear favorites, with Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings right behind.

So I ask you this -- if you are #TeamTank, will you be at all happier if the Canucks sneak into the playoffs as the final Wild Card team and have a ever-so-slight chance of knocking off Chicago?

EDITED Thursday Evening.

Jim Benning was on TSN Radio this afternoon saying he has no plans to sell, and may even add, at the trade deadline. I think he has to say this, since the Canucks are currently two points out of the playoffs. Let's see what the next couple weeks bring.

Let's go back in time to March 1977 and Andy Kaufman's first Tonight Show appearance.