The New Season is Upon Us! NHK Predictions!

The NHK trophy is this weekend! Who is excited?

Here’s the schedule of events in the Japanese time zone. Please check your local listings.

Day 1 – Friday, October 22nd, 2010.

  • 14:30 – Opening Ceremonies
  • 15:00 – Short Dance
  • 17:05 – Pairs Short Program
  • 19:05 – Ladies Short Program

Day 2 -Saturday, October 23rd, 2010.

  • 12:20 – Men’s Short Program
  • 14:30 – Free Dance
  • 16:35 – Pairs Long Program
  • 18:00 – Ice Dance/Pairs Medal Ceremony
  • 18:50 – Ladies Long Program
  • 20:45 – Ladies Medal Ceremony

Day 3 – Sunday, October 24th, 2010.

  • 12:00 – Men’s Long Program
  • 14:00 – Men’s Medal Ceremony
  • 16:00 – Exhibition Gala

*Predictions*

Men

The two main competitors for gold should be Daisuke Takahashi and Jeremy Abbott. Jeremy has beaten Daisuke before (2009 Skate Canada) but he tends to be a headcase. How close the race to gold will rest on whether or not he can skate consistently and whether the judges will like his supposedly toned-down frantic arm waving a la Lysacek. Daisuke has shown us that he can do a clean quad at the Japan Open but let’s hope he’ll have to be more consistent than he was at the Japan Open if he wants to win back his world title. I sincerely hope that he does skate clean because his LP is absolutely gorgeous. (P.S. His hair in the picture above is EPIC.) Also, an interesting debutant: Yuzuru Hanyu aka, last year’s junior world champion. The guy has a lot to work on but he has the beginnings of a delightfully artistic skater. Other highlights of the competition will be Florent Amodio, Adrian Schultheiss and Denis Ten. Who knows how well these guys will fare, although they do display the occasional glimmers of brilliance.

Ladies

A couple of interesting competitors in this category. We’ll finally see whether Chairman Mao has recovered her consistency despite signs that she is improving her jump technique (ie. not flutzing and doing a salchow). If she does get back in her groove, she has no challengers. Carolina Kostner usually begins her seasons badly but she’s erratic enough to prove us wrong and perhaps emerge as a dark horse contender (as she always is). Rachel Flatt will continue to be boring and if she wins this thing, I may just have to cry. Ashley Wagner made it into the GPF last season and although she didn’t make the Olympic team, we’ll see how she improves this season. Admittedly, Wagner is slightly more interesting to watch and has more star quality than Flatt but that doesn’t take much. Another U.S. lady to mention would be Caroline Zhang. Apparently she’s been working on correcting her technique with her new coach. Let’s hope that what she’s saying is true. She has too much potential to go to waste. Finally, Kanako Murakami will be someone to watch for. Machiko Yamada’s latest prodigy has lovely jumps (including a triple-toe, triple-toe combination), a fun style and she just exudes happiness on the ice. I sincerely hope that she makes a strong debut at the senior level.

Pairs

Unless something batshit crazy happens, Pang and Tong will probably wipe the floor with everyone. ‘Nuff said.

Ice Dance

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are sure to dominate the GP circuit now that Tessa and Scott are gone. If Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje continue their momentum from last season, they might win a medal. (I rather like this team, they are way more interesting to watch than the #2 Canadian team…) Some interesting debutants include Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, the wonder Russian team who will be filling in that huge vacuum in Russian ice dance at the moment now that Domnina/Shabalin are retired and the Khokhlova/Novitski partnership is dissolved. I see a meteoric rise for these two and if they train hard, we might see them on the podium for Sochi 2014. Another debuting pair: the Shibutanis! I find these two adorable. They might not win a medal but their new FD is lovely.

The Cafe’s Picks:

Ladies: Mao Asada (crosses fingers for her)
Men: Daisuke Takahashi
Pairs: Qing Pang and Jian Tong
Ice Dance: Meryl Davis and Charlie White

And an image to end…

I can’t wait to see this lift in action~!

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