Predictions: Grand Prix Final 2019

Alena Kostornaia 2019

I know I’m a little late but I haven’t looked at the results yet, so let’s go so I can do just that!

Men

The main story in the men’s event at the Final will be an epic showdown between Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen. With Hanyu healthier than he was at Worlds last year, this will be a good gauge to see how they stack up going into Worlds. I honestly don’t know what to expect – both of them are superb competitors and time will tell here.

As for bronze, my pick will likely be Alexander Samarin, who did quite well in France and won on home ice, which suggests a good degree of consistency so far this season. His previous competition results suggest that he generally ranks above his teammate, Dmitri Aliev, as well as Kevin Aymoz, who has had a bit of a breakthrough season.

Predictions

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver: Nathan Chen
Bronze: Alexander Samarin

Ladies

The potential for a Russian sweep of the ladies podium is high at the GPF this year, with team Eteri’s new batch of young skaters doing 3As and quads. The race for gold will likely be a tight one between Alexandra Trusova and Alena Kostornaia.

Personally, I find Trusova’s PCs to be a little ridiculously overscored, especially if you watch her after Rika Kihira, or even Marin Honda, who despite having a rough time in the senior competition, has excellent skating skills, and buttery transitions. As I’ve maintained since the beginning, I honestly don’t understand why PCS is scored on a range when they’re marking very different and disparate categories and why they tend to correlate with your TES. Either way, the judges have been rewarding this current batch of jumping beans quite generously on the PCS front regardless of their actual ability to perform artistically, and have coherent, articulate programs, and with a 3A recently flagged as part of her arsenal, Trusova will be force to be reckoned with at the Final.

That’s not to say that her main challenger, Alena Kostornaia, has no change of snatching gold away. Kostornaia has been a refreshing newcomer to the mix, with good flow and musicality, and solid skating skills in comparison to a lot of the skaters coming out of the Tutberidze camp. Her scores have come close to Trusova’s over the season, thanks to the 3A but should Trusova land all her quads and her own 3A, it may be a little difficult for Kostornaia to catch up.

Anna Shcherbakova is another competitor not to be missed since she has a lovely 4Lz and is somewhat in the middle between Kostornaia and Trusova in terms of skating skills, performance, etc. With clean programs, I would not be surprised if she can also have a good shot at gold should her Russian teammates falter.

Rika Kihira will likely try to be a spoiler for a medal here. Kihira has slowly been building her consistency throughout the season and had intended to jump a 4S at NHK. Whether we’ll see that jump at the Final, we’ll have to see but personally, if she feels comfortable with the jump, I’d say she should go for it to increase her comfort with it in competition.

Predictions

Gold: Alexandra Trusova
Silver: Alena Kostornaia
Bronze: Anna Scherbakova

Pairs

While we’ve always known that Wenjing Sui & Cong Han are a great team, I think we’re finally seeing them settle into that with a full season (fingers crossed) – well, half a season now, ahead of them. Sui & Han will be looking to produce two consistent and hopefully clean skates, and this competition is theirs to lose.

For silver and bronze, I think I’d peg the two young Russian teams of Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov, and Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin, who have been putting in consistent performances throughout the GP series, though will need some time and work to improve their performance quality, which is expected of young teams.

Predictions

Gold: Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Silver: Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov
Bronze: Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin

Ice Dance 

The results in ice dance this season has been generally predictable and stable throughout competitions. Overall, I have no doubt that Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron will dominate the entire competition, potentially with record breaking scores if they skate clean.

Generally below them with a healthy margin will be Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov. I’m a little surprised by the rise of this team. They have good ice coverage and some interesting elements in their programs but overall, I find their style to be overly ornate to the point of distraction. At times, their choreography is busy to the point where they get a little sloppy and I honestly want to see them power forward on the ice with cleaner movements and smoother edges. Anyways, my opinion isn’t important because it seems like the judges are clearly putting them above the rest of the pack but below the current World Champions.

The most interesting bit of the dance competition will likely be the race for bronze. Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue have been generally been the ones in that position but the judges seem to have given them some clear signals this season that their hold on this spot is tenuous, especially with the silver at Skate Canada. Admittedly, the winners of that particular leg of the GP, Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, were on home ice, the fact that the judges were willing (and I believe, justified) in give them to the gold is a good signal for 1) H&D to revise their programs and 2) that Gilles & Poirier are in a good position to gun for the top dance spot in Canada at Nationals this year, potentially a top 5 finish at Worlds, and for this week, a chance for bronze.

Madison Chock & Evan Bates will also make an attempt for bronze, or at the very least, a chance to outscore Hubbell & Donohue to put themselves in a good place to take the top dance spot at American Nationals this season. Of all the three teams, I’m not really sure who will take the bronze but for now, I think I’ll play it safe and maybe I’ll be surprised by the result.

Predictions

Gold: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron
Silver: Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov
Bronze: Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue

How are my predictions so far?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Worlds 2019

yuzuru hanyu 2018 helsinki

It’s time for World Championships and also time for predictions! There’s no time to waste, let’s go!
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Predictions: 2018 Olympic Games

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It has come to this moment. The Olympics are upon us and I have no clue how I’m going to survive with the time difference, work, and all my other commitments. However I do it, I will give you my predictions nonetheless. Onward!

Men

Ice is indeed slippery and I actually have no clue how I will make up the predictions for the men’s event. Even as I type this, my mind is whirling with the possibilities and I will likely make a random guess at the end. There are a lot of contenders and possibilities in the men’s field and at this point, it’s anyone’s game. Nathan Chen leads the quad squad and whether he keeps his momentum from the GPF is yet to be seen. Should he falter, there are many who can take the helm of Olympic Champion including Javier Fernandez, who will not get penalized as harshly should he violate the zayak rule this time. The two time World Champion doesn’t have all the quads but the judges have shown that they are willing to reward him for his skating skills and well-executed programs.

Not to be underestimated is Shoma Uno, despite not showing the pizzaz we’ve seen in previous seasons. In the past, we’ve seen Uno use his near wins as fuel for the future but somehow, with Olympic pressure mounting, I don’t quite see the same determination this season. Nonetheless, he is still a force to be reckoned with. Also in the mix is Boyang Jin and Mikhail Kolyada. Neither of them really have superb skating skills like Fernandez but they do have quads and spotty consistency, which may work for an interesting podium.

Defending Olympic Champion, Yuzuru Hanyu, is coming back from injury and the fact that he’s not doing the team event doesn’t bode well. I wish him all the best but the cautious side of me will likely not put him on the podium. I sincerely hope he proves me wrong.

Predictions:

Gold: Nathan Chen
Silver:
Javier Fernandez
Bronze:
Shoma Uno

Ladies

The battle for gold will be likely between Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva. Zagitova has only been consistent at Euros this season but assuming the Olympic curses are in full force, I’ll put her in as the surprise win at Pyeongchang. Medvedeva looked solid coming out of injury after Euros and frankly, the fate of the gold medal is in her hands. If she skates clean, she should be able to top her teammate. I’m just not sure if she’s recovered enough to clinch the gold

As for bronze, there are a number of ladies who are strong contenders. Canada’s hopes rest on Kaetlyn Osmond, who seems to be unraveling under all the pressure (there was some buzz that she was the best hope to beating Medvedeva last season) and to a lesser extent, Gabrielle Daleman, who has an outside chance should a large number of women falter as they did at Worlds last year. Carolina Kostner has been looking strong and better than ever and her bronze at Euros is a sign that the judges are willing to put her over Maria Sotskova, who has risen above the rest of the strong Russian ladies field to take the last spot on the Olympic team. Some dark horses include the very consistent and surprise National Champion, Bradie Tennell, and the two Japanese ladies, Kaori Sakamoto and Satoko Miyahara. This will be a difficult podium to determine.

Predictions

Gold: Alina Zagitova
Silver:
Evgenia Medvedeva
Bronze:
Carolina Kostner

Pairs

The battle for gold will be exciting and it will likely come down to two very worthy teams: Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot and Wenjing Sui & Cong Han. I would be pleased as punch if either of these two teams win though in the event that they skate perfectly, I suspect that Savchenko & Massot’s innovative LP will have the edge over Sui & Han’s Turandot. Overall, the team who skates clean will likely capture the gold.

Other podium contenders include Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov skating to a very confusing LP, and Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, who have some of the most difficult elements in the pairs competition. Duhamel & Radford may have what it takes to win but they have been struggling with consistency this season, and the judges aren’t always generous with the PCS.

Predictions:

Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot
Silver:
Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Bronze:
Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov

Ice Dance

I was pretty sure of Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron’s victory when they got world record scores on non-home ice at the Cup of China and their GPF win also seals my suspicion that the judges will place them over their main rivals, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir in Pyeongchang. Virtue & Moir have learned from their former Olympic experience and made some very effective changes to building a crescendo for the end of their program but I’m not sure if it’s enough at this point. Nonetheless, there should be a lot of pride in being Canadian flag-bearers and a legendary team in skill and longevity in the sport.

There is one very small ray of hope for V/M fans – I do find it interesting that Skate Canada was pushing *extremely* hard for Tessa & Scott during Nationals. Given that the recent competitions in France have been… on the frugal side *cough* plastic stars instead of medals *cough*, an economic argument could be made to keep the Canadian fans happy, as they have steadfastly bought a chunk of the seats to competitions held in Canada. Still, this is pure speculation on the political side of the sport, and of all the predictions on this post, I’m most confident about the ice dance results.

As for bronze, it will likely be a toss-up between the two American ice dance teams – Maia & Alex Shibutani, and Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue. The latter won Nationals after a critical mistake by the Shibsibs in the FD and it looks like the judges won’t be forgiving to the Shibutanis if they do the same in Pyeongchang. It will be an exciting match for bronze as Hubbell & Donohue have really started to show the confidence and skill that has always been within their potential.

Predictions:

Gold: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron
Silver:
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Bronze:
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani

Team Event

Let’s face it: nothing has really changed from Sochi and there are still really only 3 countries that have a shot at the podium in the team event. Other countries, like France and China have yet to develop a well-rounded team where there are adept competitors in each discipline. The Olympic Athletes from Russia have the most solid team and will likely win gold again, though the race for silver might be a little tighter this time, depending on the results of the single skaters from Canada. If Patrick Chan and the Canadian ladies can muster two good performances, they can probably maintain a good lead over the Americans. If not, the silver will slip out of their fingers.

Predictions:

Gold: Olympic Athletes from Russia
Silver:
Canada
Bronze:
U.S.A

What are your predictions for each podium? Do you think I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments. For live tweets during the Olympic events, follow my Twitter @rinksidecafe!

~Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: GPF 2017

The week has been long and insanely busy, once again. The competition may have already started already so I apologize. Names on page, let’s go.

Men

Without Yuzuru, the competition will likely be between Shoma Uno and Nathan Chen for gold. The former was a little shaky in his last GP assignment though home ice may be kind. Chen is going into the competition with full confidence from his win at Skate America. Either way, I think the ball is in Shoma’s court but I think he will fumble a bit here.

The rest of the field don’t quite have the quads, save for Mikhail Kolyada, who seems to have finally found his rhythm. Barring a total meltdown, he should be able to secure the bronze.

Predictions:

Gold: Nathan Chen
Silver:
Shoma Uno
Bronze:
Mikhail Kolyada

Ladies

Strange how neither singles World Champion is at this competition. With the vacuum left by Evgenia Medvedeva, I think that Alina Zagitova can fill it with her double tano jumps and back-ended programs. There are other skaters who are well rounded and have more enjoyable programs to watch but you can’t deny that 1) the back-ended programs rack up points and 2) the judges have never marked PCS correctly to penalize skaters with incoherent or check-box like programs.

Some challengers: Kaetlyn Osmond if she can get herself together and Carolina Kostner, who skates with a polish and maturity well beyond the rest of the field. Maria Sotskova should also be in contention for a medal. This will be a tough call. I think Osmond can win this should she skate clean but I’m not sure if I’m ready to put my faith in her yet.

Predictions:

Gold: Alina Zagitova
Silver:
Maria Sotskova
Bronze:
Kaetlyn Osmond

Pairs

What a great roster. Pairs has gone from my least favourite disciplines to my favourite. Wenjing Sui & Cong Han look strong this season, and one of their biggest rivals, Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford faltered at Skate America last week. The judges don’t seem to like their style this season as much as the previous seasons so whatever their TES, Sui & Han will likely have the higher PCS throughout the competition. Should the Chinese pair skate clean, they will be hard to beat at any competition this season.

Bronze will be a tough call between Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov with their wtf LP and Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot, with probably my favourite LP of the season. So many tough calls.

Predictions:

Gold: Wenjing Sui & Cong Han
Silver:
Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford
Bronze:
Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot

Ice Dance

I said it at the beginning of the season and even if I’m not fully confident of my other predictions, I am fairly certain that Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron will be Olympic Champions in Pyeongchang. Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir failed to improve on their scores on non-home ice, and are prone to small but costly mistakes. The French have been steadily improving and are super consistent – their inexperience jitters are gone and they’re in it to win it. Furthermore, both P&C’s programs this season are more coherent than that of their rivals. I’m not sure if V&M can win that second title they were looking for.

As for bronze, the leading American team will fill that spot and for now, it’s still the Shibsibs. If any of the other American teams want that top spot at Nationals this season, now is the time to make a case for themselves.

Predictions:

Gold: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron
Silver:
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Bronze:
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani

What are your predictions for the GPF? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

 

Predictions: Worlds 2016

Gracie Gold 2016

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter long weekend! Once my precious days off were over, I realized that Worlds was starting very soon and I had to get my act together and do a Worlds predictions post. My last few predictions have been off the mark but hey, it happens and it won’t deter me from making more. So here goes!

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Debrief: Grand Prix Final – Part II

stolbova klimov 15 gpf lp

Alright! It’s time for part II of the Grand Prix Final debrief with the pairs and ice dance competition! I apologize for the lateness but better late than never? These posts remind me why I usually do a “State of the Union” post after the GPF but it seems this season, my tardiness has some benefits. I believe some of the results at Nationals may be a little more telling than what transpired at the GPF so… I will do a 4CC predictions post but all my thoughts on the outcomes of Euros and 4CC and some of the national competitions will be summed up in a State of the Union post.

As for Worlds… well, I have a bit of a surprise which I think I will reveal a little later in the season. But first, GPF debrief! Let’s go!

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Debrief: Grand Prix Final 2015 – Part I

 

satoko miyahara 15 gpf lp

As a few of you have remarked, my predictions for the Grand Prix Final were oh so terribly wrong. Although my predictions are incorrect a lot of the time, these ones were wrong through and through and when I thought about it, I drew these conclusions:

  1. Not having the 2nd half of TEB really messed things up. I point to my overestimation of Gold and Chan’s abilities. I thought they were going to medal here but I suspect that should TEB have played out completely, their weakness for this season would have been a lot more clear.
  2. Never base your predictions on your hopes. Just stick to the status quo until it changes.
  3. Even if you do stick with the status quo, ice is slippery. I did not think that anyone could beat Duhamel & Radford. Their streak is over.

Moving on, let’s go to the highlights and debrief!
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Predictions: Grand Prix Final 2015

javier fernandez black betty

The Grand Prix Final is upon us! As always with all the GPFs, not all the top skaters are in this competition due to one circumstance or another but that does not stop the fact that this competition will be a decisive one on several fronts for the rest of the season. The roster for this competition looks exciting and I can’t wait to watch it. But first, predictions!

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Debrief: NHK Trophy 2015

yuzuru 15 nhk lp

What a great ending to the seeded events in the Grand Prix Series. The final is shaping up to be fantastic. I apologize for the lateness of this post so let’s not tarry. More

Predictions: NHK Trophy 2015

mao 2015 lp

Another competition is upon us! The NHK Trophy is the last of the GP series before the Grand Prix Final and I am super excited!

In other news, CBC has reported that the ISU will use the standings from the SP as the final standings to calculate who gets into the GPF. This means that my predictions have completely gone into the garbage for TEB but in all honesty, I’m just glad that the skaters are safe. My continued thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by all of the terrible acts of terrorism around the world.

And now, back to our regular programming of predictions for this year’s NHK Trophy. More

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