Skate Canada – Predictions

After a wonderful start to the figure skating season last week at NHK, I have only one word to describe Skate Canada: mediocre. Why? Well, the only competition worth watching is the men’s while the other disciplines are filled with B-listers. You doubt me, I hear? Well, let’s take a look at the competition.

Men

This week at Skate Canada, we’ll finally see whether Patrick Chan has kept his over inflated head in check so he could land his developing quad and triple axel. The 2010 World silver medalist has a lot to prove if he wants everyone, not just the Canadians, to acknowledge that he’s one of the best in the world. The only major international competition he’s won to date is Four Continents and now that the Olympics aren’t in Canada anymore, we might see his scores even out a little with the rest of the competition. (In other words, hopefully his scores will be less inflated. His marks at Skate Canada and the Olympics last year were ridiculous.)

The babyfaced daddy, Nobunari Oda will have to prove himself this weekend after a disastrous showing at Worlds last year where he didn’t even advance to skate his LP. We’ll also see if “the perils of coaching changes” has affected Oda since he’s left Morozov for his former coach, Lee Barkell as Morozov has left for mother Russia to ensure her dominance in figure skating at Sochi. In any case, Oda has talent, beautiful jumps and if he has a program like his Charlie Chaplain LP last year, he can charm the pants off of anyone. As long as it doesn’t result in a shotgun wedding again because he can’t be married again.

Another interesting entry will be Adam Rippon who beat two Vancouver Olympic medalists at the Japan Open. Rippon’s lyrical style is absolutely a pleasure to watch and he’s slated as the next men’s figure skating star. We’ll see if he fulfills this high expectation this year. With most of the American men off doing TV shows and photo shoots, Rippon has a clear shot at the National title if he beats Jeremy Abbott, who seems to peak around that time.

Ladies

I was rendered speechless when I saw the ladies roster for Skate Canada. Not out of delight but out of pure and total suckiness. Ksenia Makarova might be the only exciting competitor out there. She’s improved greatly over the summer and I think she’s the only one who has a triple-triple in her arsenal. Cynthia Phaneuf finished a respectable 5th but she tends to have a rough start to her season, not to mention that Phaneuf is a total headcase. Let me repeat that for emphasis: TOTAL HEADCASE. Okay. Speaking of headcases, Alissa Czisny will be there as well. Who knows where she’ll end up. As for the rest… let’s let them prove to me that they are worth mentioning. Agnes Zawadzki will also be an interesting entry. She had success in the junior years. I wonder what kind of splash she’ll make in the senior ranks.

Pairs

Well, Dube and Davison are gone due to injury. I don’t see that as too much of a loss since my respect for them has diminished forever due to their complete inability to skate to Carmen. For those who don’t understand why I see this as a crime, let’s just make this analogy. Not being able to skate to Carmen is like… being a patriotic citizen without recognizing your own national flag. Or being illiterate while studying at Harvard. Or… a lot of things. You get the point.

Anyways, the problem with the pairs competition is that there is absolutely no clear contender. A trusted friend, whose opinion I respect (and who I might invite as a guest blogger) likes Iliushechkina & Maisuradze, who finished 4th at Junior Worlds last season. It’s a long shot but no one is extremely spectacular and despite Kwong’s assertion that two single skaters will make a good pairs team, I would care to disagree.

Ice Dance

Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier are hometown favourites after a top 10 finish at Worlds. Don’t ask me how I know but Poirier started at university this year, which may or may not affect his training seeing at how busy university and classes can be. In any case, they’ll face tough competition from the Kerrs. There will be a free for all for the bronze as far as I know, so I hope that a team might delight me by surprise.

The Cafe’s picks:

Unlike PJ Kwong, who I consider my nemesis for no apparent reason, I do NOT see a Canuck sweep of Skate Canada despite any inflation that may occur:

Ladies: Ksenia Makarova
Men: Nobunari Oda
Pairs: Lubov Iliushechkina & Nodari Maisuradze
Ice Dance: Sinead & John Kerr

Thoughts? Opinions? Please share!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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