Bulls

Miller on the Bears' schedule

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Miller on the Bears' schedule

The day the NFL releases its regular-season schedule could easily be the greatest day other than the Draft, season opener, the start of playoffs and of course the Super Bowl. Anyway, there is no way NFL fans can plan for a Super Bowl and fall weekends until the schedule has been released.

Bears fans, your prayers have been answered as it looks pretty favorable for the Chicago Bears.

Week 1: Sept. 9 vs. Colts -- The Bears' defense gets ready to exploit rookie first-round QB Andrew Luck

Week 2: Sept. 13 at Packers -- Division games are always good early to get your mind right for season; none better than facing rival Packers on Thursday night in primetime.

Week 3: Sept. 23 vs. Rams -- Facing a Rams team at home that does not yet have an identity or enough playmakers.

Week 4 Oct. 1 at Cowboys -- If Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan does not fix the defense, Brian Urlacher and the boys can keep key Dallas offensive playmakers in check on another Monday nighter.

Week 5: Oct. 7 at Jaguars -- It's always good to face one-dimensional teams. Maurice Jones-Drew must be stopped while Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert is trying to get comfortable in a new offense under Mike Mularkey.

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: Oct. 22 vs. Lions -- The Bears should be well rested for a divisional Monday nighter that could be huge in the standings. The Bears must win this home game.

Week 8: Oct. 28 vs. Panthers -- There cannot be a letdown here. Carolina pushed around the Bears last year in Soldier Field. The Panthers are a dangerous team entering 2012 and are getting better.

Week 9: Nov. 4 at Titans -- The Titans are another dangerous team. They were nearly a playoff team last year, finishing 9-7. One plus is the Bears may be facing second-year QB Jake Locker at this point.
Week 10: Nov. 11 vs. Texans -- Buckle up for this one. This will be the Bears' fourth primetime game. Houston is a complete team. They finally busted through the AFC South to the playoffs. The Texans defense is legit.

Week 11: Nov. 19 at 49ers -- Another Monday nighter completes five primetime games for the Bears, which is the most any team can have in a season. It should be another dandy against the NFC Division runner-up.

Week 12: Nov. 25 vs. Vikings -- The Bears cannot coast in this one, but this is a nice breather from the previous five weeks.

Week 13: Dec. 2 vs. Seahawks -- The Seahawks are still one-dimensional. Stop Marshawn Lynch.
Week 14: Dec. 9 at Vikings -- The Vikings will not be much improved from facing them two weeks prior.
Week 15: Dec. 16 vs. Packers -- The Bears have to split with the Packers. This is their chance at home.

Week 16: Dec. 23 at Cardinals -- Look at all of these NFC games to finish the season. These matter for playoff seeding. The Cards won seven of their last nine games last season, finishing strong.
Week 17: Dec. 30 at Lions -- What better way to end the season than with a division game? The Lions believe last year was not a fluke. The Bears may have an opportunity to knock the Lions out.

Early thoughts just looking at the schedule: The Bears could go 12-4 again with a new sheriff in town like general manager Phil Emery and a couple of breaks. The pressure is on with the new GM, but Weeks 7-11 provide a brutal five-week stretch along with Weeks 15-17.

Watch: NBA All-Star Game kicks off with amazing video featuring Chicago icons

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USA TODAY

Watch: NBA All-Star Game kicks off with amazing video featuring Chicago icons

As host of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, Chicago is on the world's center stage this weekend.

Ahead of Sunday's exhibition at the United Center, TNT broadcasted a goosebump-inducing video to kick-off the action. The tribute featured numerous Chicago icons, who discussed growing up/living in the city and what it means to them personally.

Those appearing in the video:

-Barack Obama
-Michael Jordan
-Common
-Chance the Rapper
-Dwyane Wade
-Candace Parker
-Isiah Thomas
-Buddy Guy
-Keke Palmer
-Jesse Williams
-Hebru Brantley

Jordan spoke for all Chicagoans when describing the impact the city has on its citizens:

"It's like a tattoo â€” it's not removable," the Bulls legend said

Best All-Star game intro ever? No doubt.

3 Takeaways: Blackhawks have hole to climb out of after road trip

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USA Today

3 Takeaways: Blackhawks have hole to climb out of after road trip

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, but the Blackhawks lost 2-3 to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday to close out their five-game road trip. Here are three takeaways:

Bad trip

After losing in Winnipeg, the Blackhawks finished their five-game road trip with a 1-4-0 record. They began the trip last Sunday in Winnipeg with a 5-2 loss. 

Sunday's game against the Jets had flashes of good, but it was mostly strong plays from the go-to guys like Kane and Jonathan Toews. All three Jets' goals came from deflections off shots from the point. Overall, the effort and productivity paled in comparison to the lone victory of the trip, Saturday's 8-4 win over the Flames in Calgary on Saturday. 

The Blackhawks, six points out of the second wild card spot, will return home and face the New York Rangers at the United Center on Wednesday. They have 23 regular season games remaining. 

Kane keeps climbing 

With a two-point outing in Winnipeg, Kane tied former Hawk Steve Larmer for 87th on the NHL all-time points list with 1,012. 

"Showtime" set up Ryan Carpenter for the first goal of the game at 15:44 of the first period by backhanding a pass towards the front of the net for the crashing Carpenter to bury.

Kane scored with less than a minute remaining in the second period to tie it 2-2 off a three-way passing play with Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik. Kane has 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in his past 18 games. 

With the primary assist on Kane's goal, Toews earned his sixth point (two goals, four assists) of the road trip. 

0.0

Sunday's Hawks vs. Jets game was the only NHL contest this season to have zero penalties. This was good news for Toews, who had five minor penalties over the prior four games. 

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