Look-Alikes: Jeff Buttle

The other day, I was wondering what sorts of posts I could do during the off season. The most obvious one would be a look-alike post since I wouldn’t have to comment on skating (I’m detoxing from figure skating right now to prepare myself for the action and drama of the Olympic season) and since people seem to enjoy the posts. While I was thinking about my look-alike posts, I realized that a lot of them were for female skaters. I was thinking about this while going over to a friend’s house and when I entered into his apartment, his roommate was watching Sliders. I have no clue what it was about but lo and behold, I noticed that one of the characters looked like Jeff Buttle! What great coincidence!

Dude from Sliders:

Sliders guy

Jeff Buttle:

Jeff Buttle

The Silders guy also sort of looks like John Travolta.

What do you think?

~The Rinkside Cafe

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Mao Asada + Mary Poppins = Adorable

I love Mary Poppins and Mao is just simply adorable here. I haven’t seen such happy energy from her for a while and I’m happy that she’s still forging on with a smile on her face. This exhibition is nowhere in the league of her Por una Cabeza or Chopin’s Ballade no. 1 but it’s still entertaining and her double axels are breathtaking. I could just watch them over and over again. Here’s to hoping for a good season for her!

Enjoy~!

~The Rinkside Cafe

P.S. Who else thinks that if Mao can’t skate singles anymore, she should go into ice dance. I’m sure she and Takahiko together would be better than the Reeds.

Japan Open – Part II: The Men

The men’s competition was certainly interesting… Although my favourite bit of men’s skating was this:

And he wasn’t even competing! (Nor have I seen the full program. Anyone have the link to the full program?)

In any case, this is how the competition went:

On the men’s side, Patrick Chan came in first skating to “Concierto de Aranjuez” – an overused piece of music but I still love it for other reasons. The lovely people at ontd_skating informed me that he fell even before I watched the program and prepared myself for another overmarked bad skate. The _skaters’ pronouncement was verified on the first jump – a quad toe – and I smelled a triple axel implosion coming up. As predicted, it happened but only after he completed a clean 4T-3T combination. I have to admit, the flying sit spin was high and beautiful and that was followed by a nice 3Lz-2S and a clean 3Lp and then a 3F. His roll didn’t continue because he fell on his 3Lz. After a clean 2A (because he can’t do a triple), we were treated to one of his “famous” step sequences, which, I felt, was inferior to Yuzuru Hanyu’s in terms of emotion and choreography. The choreography for this program wasn’t bad but I feel that the overall program would be a lot better with a few more intricacies and transitions. Replace Jeff Buttle with Chan and you might just get magic.

I didn’t expect much from Artur Gachinski but the young man gave a pretty solid skate. Opening with a fall on a quad toe, he came back with a strong spread eagle into a 3A followed by a 3A-3T combination. He had an interesting choice of music with selections of “Interview with a Vampire” but this program didn’t really excite me at all. The jumps were clean and there were some random hand movements and sometimes it was accompanied with a shaking of his mane. He sort of reminded me of a less shy and more platonic version of Takakhiko Kozuka. I want to see more expression from this guy and I certainly hope he’s capable of it. Just a random note, the pikachu he was holding in the kiss and cry was cute. I want one.

Takahiko Kozuka came in 3rd with a program skated to music from “Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind,” the music is lovely although the film is absolutely lame compared to the stunning manga. Shy little Takahiko also fell on a 4T attempt but rallied his strength for a gorgeous triple axel. The jump layout seemed similar to his Lizst LP from last season as the proceeding jump was a 3Lz-2T combination. Takashiko seemed to get the crowd going in his step sequence but it’s such a lively violin bit, I wished he put a little more energy into it. At least the 3A-2T-2Lp afterwards as beautiful. Same with the footwork into the 3F. The rest of his triple jumps were fluid and gorgeous and the entire program was in general, well skated and solid.

Of course, we all wish that Takahiko could be less shy but what can you do? This program isn’t as intricate and well-timed/choreographed as last year’s LP but this performance seemed a little undermarked. The quality of Takahiko’s elements (minus the quad) was definitely superior than Chan’s and Gachinski’s. I hope that this program gets tweaked here and there over the season and I also hope that Takahiko starts feeling it a little more. This guy is a fine skater and it would be a pity if his skills were unnoticed by the world because he’s a bit shy.

The darling boy, Jeff Buttle came in fourth. The first half of the program was pretty good. The music choice was unique and Jeff is captivating to watch, as always. He opened with a 3F-2T (slightly forward on the landing on the 3F but still managed to land everything cleanly). Lovely 3A after that but the best part? The twizzle into a camel spin. Pure love. Jeff’s skating still melts like butter on the tongue. But then, the 2nd half of his program came and after his 3S, Jeff doubled all of his jumps. He must’ve had stamina issues, which is disappointing beause this is a lovely program. Subtle, unpredictable and entertaining. This is who Takahiko Kozuka needs to be. I hope to see an improved version of this program in the future as it’s on the road to being one my favourites.

Florent Amodio. Oh em gee, even within the first 5 seconds you could tell that this entire program is a hot mess. I mean, you had all the elements of figure skating jokes all in one program. Skin-tight animal-print costume? Check. Gyrations and self-touching? Check. Poorly executed jumps? Check. Distracting arm motions? Check. Strange roaring noises in the music? Check. I guess you could say that this entire program was something of a train-wreck. It was horrifying but you couldn’t tear your eyes off of it. At least he did manage a 4S and a beautiful 3A at the beginning… And I guess it’s… entertaining… I wonder what the judges will think of it when the season starts. Florent can do so much better, Nikolai Morozov.

Finally, we have Daisuke, who surprisingly came in last. What is going on with Team Japan? He’s skating to the blues music that was once used by Grishuk and Platov (and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje). He underrotated and 2-footed his opening 4T and his 3A was less than impeccable. This is not the Daisuke I want to see. He did rally and performed a lovely 3S. His jumps are a bit slow as they always are at the beginning of the season but his first step sequence feels a bit toned down compared to his previous exuberant displays of serious skating skills. Daisuke popped his 2nd 3A and the second half of his program was full of jumps with shaky landings, two-foots step outs and a fall. His bombage wasn’t as serious as Miki Ando’s but it’s disheartening to see Daisuke discouraged and looking defeated mid-way through the program.

I seriously hope that this was just some strange fluke and that his skating for the rest of the season will be a lot better than this. In his exhibition skate, he went back to being the talented and mesmerizing Daisuke that we all know and love. Let’s hope we see more of that Daisuke.

MEN (final standings)
1. Patrick Chan CAN – 159.93
2. Artur Gachinski RUS – 152.71
3. Takahiko Kozuka JPN – 148.21
4. Jeffrey Buttle CAN – 138.33
5. Florent Amodio FRA – 138.25
6. Daisuke Takahashi JPN – 130.79

TEAM (final standings)
1. Team North America – 518.64
2. Team Europe – 517.94
3. Team Japan – 479.57

Overall comments:

I certainly hope that the performances results of this competition reflect the performances we’ll see during the season. Right now, only time can tell.

~The Rinkside Cafe

The Japan Open

The Japan Open is often a pleasant prelude to the figure skating season for me but I’m never extremely excited about it. In the past two years, the competition hasn’t been that exciting as there were only a few skaters to be excited about. This year, however, that seems to have changed. The lineup is as follows:

Team Japan: Miki Ando, Akiko Suzuki, Daisuke Takahashi, Takahiko Kozuka

Team North America (pretty much Team Canada): Joannie Rochette, Alissa Czisny, Patrick Chan, Jeff Buttle

Team Europe (pretty much Team Russia) : Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Alena Leonova, Artur Gachinski, Florent Amodio

It looks like Team Europe may be at a disadvantage since most skaters in that team fall short when compared to competitors in the other two teams. (I can’t help but be slightly excited over Elizaveta though.) However, Team North America have two retired or semi-retired athletes who may not have the heavy arsenal of jumps that that other competitors may have. Then again, who knows who may surprise us. If all of Team Japan is consistent, then they could very well take the title very handily. If they fall short, Team North America can very well snatch the victory from right under their noses.

If Only…

… he could have stayed. Canadian Nationals is just around the corner but everyone knows that it’s one national competition that’s not really worth watching seeing that it’s a one-pony race. Your Canadian champions – barring injury or major freak accident – will be Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Patrick Chan, Cynthia Phaneuf and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch. I wish that we could cross off Chan’s name from that list and put Jeff instead. (I wouldn’t mind giving Akiko Suzuki Canadian citizenship just so she can be at the top of the Canadian ladies podium either…) Jeff has the right qualities for a person that has the potential to be on the top of the World/Olympic podium: modesty, a good sense of humour, sportsmanship (so he knows that trash-talking opponents does you no good – Chan and Joubert take note!) and beautiful, beautiful technique. I found this recently and it just melts in your mouth…

Enjoy~

~The Rinkside Cafe