Cup of Russia 2011: My hero

I was live-streaming the men’s long program for the Cup of Russia but the stream was really choppy by the time they got to the last 4 men. My stream was literally 2 seconds of figure skating, 10 second pause, skip, another 2 seconds of figure skating and… another pause. I had pretty much given up on watching and just ran the rest of the stream anyways just to see to the end. The video was so choppy that I had no clue that Jeremy Abbott was a headcase in his long because all I could see was the flow from the occasional transition movement that the stream decided to show me.

Jeremy’s program is rather interesting and intricate – though it looks too busy at some parts – and it was luckily awarded the PCS it deserved. This is a difficult program and I hope Jeremy can do it justice. I’m sure it would look a lot better without two big falls and a lack of concentration in the second half.

Javier Fernandez won the long program, though he did lose to Yuzuru… by 0.03. Wow. This guy is poised to win Euros this season though and I’m very excited for him.

As for Yuzuru, despite the two falls, this guy retains his lovely flow and all the elements look as if they’re joined seamlessly with each other. I’m really hoping that he’ll kick Oda off the Japanese National podium this year. He’s too talented to not make his mark at Worlds though right now, experience is what he really needs. He has youth on his side and even if he doesn’t make it to Sochi, I’m sure the Koreans would love his anime-esque face at Pyeongchang. As for my predictions, I’ve learned not to underestimate this guy. I’m sorry I doubted you, Yuzuru.

Overall standings for the men’s event at the Rostelecom Cup here.

I’ll post the list of people going to the final very soon.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Cup of Russia 2011: Pairs Long Program

Again, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands right now so I can only blog here and there. I watched the last 5 teams for the pairs competition but I’ll only blog about the top 3 because the rest of them were terrible and a pain to watch. I want those 15 minutes of my life back. I’ll post videos when they’re up but for now, you’ll just have to settle for my rambling. In any case…

Bronze – Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek

I just put a random team in the bronze position for my predictions because I really had no clue who these C-list teams were. The Russian team I put in bronze did come in fifth place but this team really took me by surprise. And in a pleasant way. Berton and Hotarek have yet to get all the technical elements to compete with the top teams in the world but there’s a real connection between the two of them and they’re quite lovely to watch. Stefania has lovely lines and they have a flow that some teams would die for. I’m very happy for their bronze and I hope they improve in time.

Silver – Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov

Something has changed with these two. Or should I say, Yuko seems to have improved by leaps and bounds. Her knees are a lot softer now and she looks less like a possessed psychopathic ball-jointed voodoo doll. I’m really glad they kept this program and that they’ve improved it because I really wanted to download it onto my computer for offline viewing but I couldn’t find a version I liked because of how it was skated. I was always too creeped out by Yuko’s floppy dead voodoo doll look throughout the program, especially in the ending pose. I dunno if they can beat Tanya and Max (my instinct says no) but I’m glad that they’re doing this program justice because it’s a lovely piece of work. I was rather impressed by the team’s new found flow and softness. I don’t know what Tamara Moskovina did, but I have nothing but respect for her right now.

Gold – Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy

Pina is a very interesting program. Aliona and Robin mentioned that it was one program that you either love or hate and I think I’m leaning towards the former. It’s creative and although it’s a bit of a work in progress, I’m having a lot of fun watching it. It’s quirky, interesting and unexpected and I think that’s what really pulls me towards it. Aliona and Robin didn’t skate this perfectly (Aliona stepped out of her 2A and put her hand down) but I have faith in these two and I know that this program will be uber awesome at future competitions. I’m very happy that they’ve redeemed themselves from that bronze medal at NHK. Good work, guys!

LP results here.

Overall standings here.

What did you think of the pairs competition at CoR?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Cup of Russia 2011: Predictions

November has been dragging on for so long that I completely forgot that the last of the grand prix events before the final is this week. Wow. Fail. Ok, here they are before I post them when the competition is halfway done. Also, you can also read my GPF competitor’s list predictions post here.

Men

Javier Fernandez, Michal Brezina and Jeremy Abbott are the ones to watch here. All of them are potential headcases who can brilliant when they are spot on. I’m hoping that Yuzuru will prove me wrong and get his ass on the podium but he needs to work on his stamina for his LP, which is still beautiful, despite his mistakes. The field at the CoR for the men’s competition is actually pretty decent and this should be a very exciting competition. Not to mention that the first group of skaters won’t be that painful to watch. This is probably really dumb, but I haven’t checked the scores for any of these men while doing these predictions so my top 3 can combinations of any of the three men listed. Though I’m praying hard for a Yuzuru upset.

Predictions:

Gold: Jeremy Abbott
Silver: Javier Fernandez
Bronze: Michal Brezina

Ladies

Mao Asada will be there! That’s all you need to know, really. Just kidding. Adelina Sotnikova should be a good contender for a medal here, though I can’t see her beating Mao unless Mao has headcase skates. I’m not sure if a silver is enough to earn her a spot in the final, which is a pity because that means she won’t be competing with Liza until Russian Nationals. To finish the podium off… um… Alena Leonova is a possibility, especially with hometown advantage. Kiira Korpi has polish that Alena can only dream of but she’s not as consistent. Which is kind of sad…

Predictions

Gold: Mao Asada
Silver: Adelina Sotnikova
Bronze: Alena Leonova

Pairs

A rematch between Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov and Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy should be super exciting. S/S haven’t been consistent all season and despite Yuko’s penchant to look like some crazy creepy jointed doll, K/S have been doing very well this season. I don’t think they’ll beat Volosozhar and Trankov at Russian Nationals but all they need here is a shaky skate from S/S to win gold. I haven’t really heard of any of the other teams here so I’m just going to put one of the random Russian pairs for my bronze predictions. Go ahead, surprise me. Though I’m not sure if I want to watch this competition live. Sleep is becoming hard to come by these days.

Predictions:

Gold: Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov (Prove me wrong, Aliona and Robin!)
Silver: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Bronze: Katarina Gerboldt & Alexander Enbert

Ice Dance

Barring major injury, Davis and White should win. Even if they fall a few times, it wouldn’t really matter because the only team that can touch them is Tessa and Scott. Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje and Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev should have an interesting battle for silver. Both teams have been doing very well this season and although I prefer the former, I wouldn’t be surprised if the latter has an advantage for being Russian and the current #1 Russian team. Ilinykh/Katsalapov is still not achieving the meteoric rise everyone expects from them and at the moment, Bobrova and Sloviev seem like Russia’s best hope for a gold at Sochi. Bobrova has very classic lines and reminds me a little of Oksana Domnina but this team needs to work on their FD. Kaitlyn and Andrew, on the other hand, has improved leaps and bounds and is skating with a wonderful speed and a new power that I’ve never seen before. (And their SD is the most watchable of all SDs this season.) I’d like to put my faith in the #2 Canadian team but one never knows with bullshit Russian judging. Though nowadays, the same could be said with a Canadian competition with Patrick Chan involved. Then again, it doesn’t really matter because W/P I think have enough points to get to the final anyways. Decisions, decisions…

Predictions

Gold: Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Silver: Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev
Bronze: Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje

I’m slightly delirious and groggy as I’m writing this. Any comments on how crazy these predictions are?

~The Rinkside Cafe

GPF 2011 – Predictions on who will be there and who won’t

So I admit I’m a bit confused over the 3 entry thing this year for the Grand Prix series and as a result, I’m making predictions without looking at the points that everyone’s gotten so far. Most of them are pretty obvious by now, though.

Men

  1. Daisuke Takahashi
  2. Patrick Chan
  3. Michal Brezina
  4. Song Nan
  5. Javier Fernandez
  6. Jeremy Abbott

Ladies

  1. Elizaveta Tukatmysheva
  2. Carolina Kostner
  3. Alissa Czisny
  4. Mao Asada
  5. Akiko Suzuki
  6. Adelina Sotnikova

Pairs

  1. Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
  2. Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov
  3. Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
  4. The Zhangs
  5. Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch
  6. Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran

Ice Dance

  1. Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
  2. Meryl Davis & Charlie White
  3. The Shibutanis
  4. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
  5. Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Sloviev
  6. Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje

I’m sort of half-asleep while writing this so what do you think?

~The Rinkside Cafe

P.S. Cup of Russia predictions will be posted later on this week. Event coverage will be limited until the new year. I apologize. Though my schedule may allow me to make an exception for the GPF.

The Best of NHK 2011

These two performances made the competition for me.

It’s great to see the new and improved Mao-chan~!

Mesmerizing, as always.

Which were your favourite performances at NHK?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Trophee Eric Bompard 2011: Predictions

My life is still filled with forms to fill out and stuff to write and a;iehf;adkfsakdfja;sdkfasdjkfla. Again, I can’t promise posts on all the competitions but I’ll do my best and I’ll make sure to do a predictions post every week. Normally, I would do predictions on who would make it into the final but with this 3 competition rule, everything gets thrown out of whack because I have no clue who’s in 3 competitions and I don’t have the time to check. I might just do the list blind and come up with a list of 6 skaters/teams for each discipline.  For now, here are my predictions for TEB 2011.

Men

Patrick Chan will undoubted win this competition, even if he does fall on his ass a few times. As much as I love figure skating, I don’t know if I can watch this discipline and have faith in the new judging system. As for silver, Nobunari Oda can very well take it… if he’s finally learned all the lessons from counting 101 that is. If not, then Michal Brezina seems to be on the rise and he could snatch silver from under his nose. If Oda can count, then I think he has the ability to steal bronze from heavyhitters like former European and World champion, Brian Joubert and current European champion, Florent Amodio. Brian Joubert has been a bit washed out in the past two seasons while Florent’s new LP is just WTF. The kid needs to leave Morozov, the Russian Gino is not doing him any favours.

Edit: Joubert has pulled out of TEB. (Source) That won’t affect my predictions though.

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Nobunari Oda
Bronze: Michal Brezina

Ladies

TEB is going to interesting here. We’re going to have a rematch of Carolina Kostner vs. Alissa Czisny and then we’re going to throw Skate Canada winner, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva into the mix. Her arch-rival, Adelina Sotnikova couldn’t win against the likes of Carolina and headcase, Mirai Nagasu and I’ve got a feeling that with tougher competition, Liza will not be able to so easily clinch the gold. As much as I admire Czisny’s elegance, I find her performances and personality very forgettable. Czisny’s programs have better choreography but it’s just more exciting to watch Carolina. Both ladies have gained a great amount of consistency so this will be another tough call. Czisny won last time but can Carolina beat her this time?

Predictions:

Gold: Carolina Kostner
Silver: Alissa Czisny
Bronze: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (though I’d love it if she beat Czisny)

Pairs

Barring major disaster – actually – even if they fell a couple of times, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov should have this competition in the bag. There are no real threats for gold other than them even though their SP this yes is just not pretty. Really, Tanya and Max, we’re no longer wannabe emo teens. Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov may have enough to muster silver while bronze is a bit of a toss of between two headcase North American teams: Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig. I’ll just go flip a coin and decide who to put in that 3rd position.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver: Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov
Bronze: Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford

Ice Dance

The ice dance lineup isn’t that bad, there are quite a few interesting competitors. The gold should easily go to Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. I really hope they’ve improved since Skate Canada (I’m sure they have) and more importantly, I hope they’ve made some changes to their programs. They’re really going to have to step it up if they want to be competitive with Meryl and Charlie. Davis and White’s FD this year showcases their athleticism and if Tessa and Scott don’t change their pause-ful Funny Face FD, they might find themselves in 2nd place this year. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat should have the support of the home crowd and possibly the silver medal but bronze will be an interesting matchup with the emerging young Italians – Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte and the rising young Russians – Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov. We may see how much Mother Russia is actually pushing for these two…

Predictions:

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Silver: Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Bronze: Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov

Daisuke proves that he still has it…

I slept in today because I’ve been so sleep deprived all week and then I realized that I missed the men’s LP! =( I did watch the gala though but my internet connection wasn’t good enough to watch Daisuke’s performance. Darn. At least I got to see a skating Domo-kun.

Anyways, back to Daisuke, who’s LP is the only one I have time to watch right now. (So much to do, so little time!)

This is definitely an improvement from Skate Canada but still a work in progress. Daisuke needs to have more flow and commit to this program just as much as he commits to his SP. If he does that, he’ll be mesmerizing. He’ll also need to work on his quad too if he wants to be competitive with Chan. Other than that, this is a pretty good performance at this point in the season. Let’s hope he can muster some great skates at the final – I’m pretty sure he’s done enough to get there.

Results for the free skate.

Overall results.

In other news, Tomas Verner seems to have completely bombed this competition while Michal Brezina did very well at the Cup of China. Will there be a new Czech national champion this year?

Now, I’m waiting for a video of Daisuke’s exhibition to pop up because I love that program.

What did you think of the men’s podium?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Previous Older Entries