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ICYMI: Blackhawks hanging onto playoff hopes; Bulls injuries mounting; MLB opening week is here

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Blackhawks hanging onto playoff hopes; Bulls injuries mounting; MLB opening week is here

The Blackhawks playoff hopes are on life support, the injuries are mounting for the Bulls and the White Sox and Cubs ready their rosters for opening week. Here are some of the Chicago sports stories you may have missed from the weekend.

Blackhawks

It wasn't the weekend the Blackhawks needed, but they are still hanging around in the playoff race. In back-to-back games against the Colorado Avalanche, the Blackhawks picked up two points and lost ground to the Avs, which hold the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

On Saturday, the Blackhawks lost 4-2 in Denver. They went 0-for-3 on the power play. The power play unit has been slumping in recent weeks.

The next night the same two teams met in the United Center. The Blackhawks couldn't get the win in regulation, which meant the Avs still got a point, but Duncan Keith scored the winner in overtime. With seven games left on the schedule, the Hawks are five points behind the Avs with a game in hand.

The Blackhawks now hit the road for three straight games away from the United Center.

Bulls

The Bulls got blown out by the Jazz 114-83 on Saturday. It snapped a two-game winning streak. The Bulls were shorthanded with Zach LaVine and Otto Porter Jr. both sitting out the game. On the injury front, Chandler Hutchison and Wendell Carter Jr. were officially ruled out for the rest of the season. John Paxson said it is "kind of trending that way" for Porter, although they aren't ruling out a return for him yet. It sounds more like LaVine will return, but they are monitoring his patellar tendinitis.

Also, on the Bulls Talk Podcast, the crew talked about how Ja Morant would be a perfect fit for the Bulls.

White Sox

Eloy Jimenez's new contract with the White Sox became official on Friday and there was a press conference with Jimenez and Rick Hahn on Saturday in Arizona. A few hours after the press conference, Jimenez had his best game of the spring. He went 3-for-3 with a home run and a walk.

While Hahn wouldn't say officially if Jimenez would be on the Opening Day roster, it was assumed that he will be on the 25-man roster. Some of the rest of the names are yet to shake out though. Nicky Delmonico was sent down to Triple-A on Saturday.

Cubs

The Cubs are also trimming down their roster and made notable news by sending Ian Happ down to Triple-A to start the season. The outfielder had been up with the Cubs since making his debut in May of 2017. Joe Maddon said the move was made to allow Happ to get consistent at-bats in the minors and show improvement after struggling in the second half of 2018 and during the spring.

Additionally, the Cubs signed left-handed pitcher Tim Collins and optioned him to Iowa. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated Brian Duensing for assignment.

‘The Book’ in Hammond brings sports betting to Chicago

‘The Book’ in Hammond brings sports betting to Chicago

Sports wagering is officially off and running in the Chicagoland area.

On Wednesday, former Bears running back Matt Forte was part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, as they officially opened their sportsbook for customers to place their bets.

‘The Book’ in Hammond is taking sports wagers for all professional sports, including those outside of MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL.

On May 8, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb officially signed a new law allowing 13 brick-and-mortar casinos to apply for licenses.

Two months later, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker followed suit.  But the two-month gap in-laws passing has allowed Indiana to get the first crack at the Chicago market, which is significant.

The goal for Indiana all along was to be open for business by Week 1 of the NFL season when the Bears host the Packers in the kickoff of the 100th season of the National Football League. 

What does it mean for Illinois? Well, for now, Illinois has to wait.

The positive? The bill has been signed into law.

The negative? Several hurdles remain before a brick-and-mortar casino will be good to go for customers to place sports wagers.

While Indiana offers a short commute to place a sports wager, it looks like Illinois may have to wait as long as Super Bowl Sunday before they can say the same.

Texas Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. visits sister Diamond at Sky shootaround

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USA TODAY

Texas Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. visits sister Diamond at Sky shootaround

The Texas Rangers are in town for their three-game set with the White Sox, which kicked off on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field but that didn't stop outfielder Delino Deshields from making some time for family. 

DeShields' sister is none other than Chicago Sky wing scorer Diamond DeShields. 

Diamond is averaging a career-high 15.3 points per game and has helped lead the Sky back to the postseason for the first time since 2016. 

Delino (Jr.) was only able to stick around for the Sky's morning shootaround, as he obviously had to be back with the Rangers in time for Friday night's game. 

Delino may be a good luck charm for Diamond, as she chipped in 22 points and four rebounds in a win on the day of his visit. It was the first win the Sky has had over the Washington Mystics since they traded superstar Elena Delle Donne back in 2016.