Predictions: NHK Trophy 2014

yuzuru 14 coc sp

The last GP event before the Grand Prix Final is upon us! I’m not sure if I should cheer for the fact that the roster is half decent or if I should down some shots because there will be a lot of Phantom of the Opera programs this weekend. In any case, onwards as I attempt to predict the podium for each event for the NHK Trophy!

Men

I got quite a response from my readers on my post from the Cup of China when I called out Yuzuru Hanyu‘s scores. So to clarify, I wanted to say that Yuzuru’s skate was an impressive feat in itself but in terms of what was delivered on the ice in a competitive event, the scores were mind-bogglingly and unjustifiably high. It’s sort of like saying, yes, it’s commendable that a chef managed to cook a meal while he was half delirious with a high fever but in the end, if the dish he delivered tasted bad, you can’t give him a good rating if you were a food reviewer.

Food analogies aside, Yuzuru has another chance to prove himself at the NHK Trophy this week and I sincerely hope that he has recovered from his injuries. If he does deliver, his Olympic champion status and home-ice advantage can carry him to the top of the podium easily.

As for his competitors, Takahito Mura proved to be a formidable threat for the title of top Japanese man. If Yuzuru leaves the door open, I would not be surprised if Mura took the chance to get himself to the top. Mura has lovely jump technique and soft knees and although he is skating to PotO for his LP, I look forward to watching him again.

As for bronze, Sergei Voronov looks to be another podium contender while Jeremy Abbott will take another shot at the podium though at this point, I think I’ve given up on Jeremy. He’s been giving us the same thing every season and even though he skates with a sense of calm unlike before, he’s still inconsistent.

Predictions:

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver:
Takahito Mura
Bronze
Sergei Voronov

Ladies

Although Gracie Gold will likely have the political might to take the gold away, I am so excited to see Satoko Miyahara skate again. I absolutely love her Miss Saigon LP – it’s elegant, interesting and the way she lands her jumps is divine. Of course, Miyahara will likely face off against teammate, Kanako Murakami and her double Phantom programs for a higher spot on the podium. Murakami has the seniority to receive higher PCS even though both her programs are mediocre at best.

Predictions:

Gold: Gracie Gold
Silver:
Kanako Murakami
Bronze
Satoko Miyahara

Pairs

The pairs competition will have one of the most intense face-offs this season. Both of the top teams here – Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov and Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford – have throw quad salchows. Duhamel & Radford have more difficult elements in their programs while Kavaguti & Smirnov have hands down the best pairs program (and maybe even the Best Program) this season. The heat is on and I’m so excited.

Rounding off the podium, I believe will be the fascinating team of Xiaoyu Yu & Yang Jin, who I have kept a note in my mind to keep an eye out for as their style is quite unique and lovely for a Chinese pairs team. I hope they keep their style but improve technically as they progress through this season.

Predictions:

Gold: Meaghan Duhamel & Eric Radford
Silver:
Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov
Bronze
Xiaoyu Yu & Yang Jin

Ice Dance

The ice dance roster is the only one with a less exciting roster. This competition should be Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje‘s to lose. I do hope that they make changes to their FD this season though I acknowledge that now is maybe not the best time to do that. Rounding off the podium I’m guessing will be Penny Coomes & Nicolas Buckland who did well enough to be on the podium at their last GP event. Due to the thinned out roster, I think Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov can build some confidence at this event by finishing strong and on the podium. Marina Zueva seems to have styled this team to be reminiscent of Tessa & Scott but I’m afraid it’s not really working. These two skate far apart, their timing is slightly off, which affects their unison and they don’t quite have the presence to fill the rink with their performance the way Tessa & Scott do. Still, I’m curious to see the aftermath of the Ilinykh/Katsalapov split.

Predictions:

Gold: Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje
Silver: Penny Coomes & Nicolas Buckland
Bronze: Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov

What are your predictions for the NHK Trophy this season? Give me your lists in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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