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12-28-2008, 09:16 PM
  #48
rt
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I just finished up watching the Great Lakes Invitational tournament. Michigan won, defeating Michigan State by the score of five to one. Chris Summers was quite impressive, yet again. He had three primary assists and none of the three goals would've been scored without Summers' effort and skill. His passing was pretty and he busted his ass to keep the goal in the offensive zone. He saw big minutes on every power play and every penalty kill, inculding five on threes, either way. Our boy, Michigan's new captain since Porter turned pro, was also one of two defenseman named to the all-tournament team. He had an impressive game all-around, apart from the three big assists. He nearly had a short handed goal on a big rush, he threw the body around all night, he positioning was very good, as was his decision making as far as hitting versus stick checking, pinching versus backing off, and passing versus skating. He was also the victim of a chicken **** butt end square in the face. The captain chose not to retaliate, and Michigan enjoyed a quality power play as a result. Also, something interesting I noticed is that a couple of times, on set plays, Michigan would position him right in front of the opposing goaltender on the face off. Apparently, not only is he their best two-way defenseman, but they also seem to think he can be an effective power-forward.

With the skating, passing, smarts, physical play, and leadership, he kind of reminds me of a poor man's Keith Ballard. Or a Keith Ballard with the volume turned down a bit. Like Ballard he's solid defensively, though prone to the odd brain fart(perhaps more often than Ballard). Like Ballard he likes the end to end rush(though, I feel he's an even better skater than Balls). He has a physical edge and likes to hit, but it's not on the same level of Ballard(this is where the volume gets turned down a bit). Obviously Bally was an offensive machine in college and a Hobey Finalist(two things that Summers certainly is not), but Chris is new to his position(skating for the first time as a defenseman only a handful of years ago), and has shown a ton of improvement on the offensive side of things. If he continues to develop like this, he may actually be quite usefull on an NHL powerplay. He passes the puck well, has an underrated shot that he gets on goal more often than not, and he's excellent at holding the puck in the zone. He may not be as effective offensively as Ballard, but I think he may prove that he's not slouch, either.

Looks like a very good pick, and I'm really excited about this kid turning pro.

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