Hockey seasons aren't made or lost in September, but roster spots are.
The Blackhawks went to 3-0 in exhibitions with a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night. Other than to most in the crowd of 18,425 at the United Center, the result didn't matter as much as the performances of players fighting to stay with the team.
Here are the players who helped — and hurt — their causes Sunday night:
Moving up:Jack Skille, right wing — The Hawks' first pick in the 2005 draft displayed his scoring ability in the second period with a nice backhand move. Skille finished with a goal on two shots in 10 minutes 23 seconds.
"It's important for me to go out there every shift like I did and be noticed," Skille said.
Antti Niemi, goaltender — The free agent from Finland is a long-range prospect, but a trade or injury could put him in the mix as a backup along with Corey Crawford. Niemi flashed a quick glove and pads to finish with 28 saves and the victory.
Kris Versteeg, left wing — He played on the top line and was scoreless in four shots in 16:09. Versteeg was most effective as a penalty killer in helping hold Dallas to 0-for-7 on the power play.
Staying steady — Kyle Beach, left wing: In his second game in a Hawks uniform, this year's top draft pick showed grit and just missed a goal when he fired over the crossbar.
Keith Carney, defense — The 38-year-old free-agent invitee was steady in 9:42.
Moving down: Michael Blunden, right wing — Played in his first exhibition of the season and was a minus-2 in 9:53.
Tim Brent, center — Made his debut and was a minus-2 with no shots on goal in 8:47.
Igor Makarov, right wing — Played his second game after being limited with a sore knee and was held off the scoresheet in 9:07.
Pascal Pelletier, left wing — Followed an impressive effort in the opener with a minus-1 in 14:41 with no shots.
Doug Janik, defenseman — Minus-2 with a penalty.
One-timer: The Hawks' power play was solid as Jonathan Toews scored twice and Patrick Sharp once. Brian Campbell had assists on all three power-play scores and also assisted on Skille's even-strength goal.
Blackhawks 4, Stars 3