Cup of Russia: Predictions

I’m running on very little sleep and I have very little free time so I apologize if this week’s predictions are a bit rushed.

Men

Patrick Chan (overinflated) Score will be present at the Cup of Russia and his only real competition at this point would be Jeremy Abbott, which makes me afraid. Very afraid. Jeremy can either do very very well or bomb his little ass off. Tomas Verner is still too weak this season (but should be able to make the podium) to make a run for the gold. I only wish I could put my faith in my darling Czech and hope that he will win me gold and prevent stupid Chan from winning.

Ladies

Miki Ando should probably win against a relatively weak field. Ksenia Makarova and Akiko Suzuki will probably be embroiled in a battle for silver unless Miki goes batshit crazy like in her pre-2009 years.

Pairs

I though Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov were off the GP because of injury but if they are competing, then they should probably win. They’re not fabulous but they’re a head and shoulders above Narumi Takahashi & Melvin Tran and Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig. Being Russian also helps Kavaguti/Smirnov.

Ice Dance

After all their costuming problems in their last GP assignment, Faiella & Scali will probably get their costumes in order and take the title. The costume mishaps were really costly and at this point, I think it’s still a bit unclear as to who the top European team will be. We’ll have to wait until the GPF to find out. The two young Russian teams (Ilynkh & Katsalapov and Bobrova & Sloviev) will probably do very well and probably round out the podium with a fight for the silver.

The Cafe’s Picks:

Men: Jeremy Abbott (for the love of God and all that is holy)
Ladies: Miki Ando
Pairs: Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnoff (and if they aren’t competing, Takahashi & Tran)
Ice Dance: Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali

Miscellaneous

Also, just an amusing observation, PJ Kwong wrote an article entitled, “What to make of Skate America.” I wanted to demand an article entitled, “What to make of Skate Canada: how Patrick Chan won against a field that was better and cleaner than he was after falling 3 times in the short and being sloppy in the free” in the comments but the nationalistic crazies that roam the CBC website will probably be after my blood. If I had the money, I would buy them all a copy of Benedict Anderson’s “Imagined Communities” but I don’t wipe my ass with a hundred dollar bills so I will just blog about it sometime in the future. Even if I don’t, re-reading Anderson would not be a detriment in any way anyways.

Enjoy~!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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Skate America: The Spoiler for Bronze

As expected, Daisuke Takahashi won Skate America. His LP wasn’t perfect but it was enough to beat Nobunari Oda who seems to need to services of the Count from Sesame Street. One of my friends has long expressed a wish to give him a calculator. Oda did an extra combination that was not counted towards his score. His overall score was 1 point below Daisuke’s.

Daisuke has now guaranteed himself a spot in the finals while Oda should probably have a spot as well with two silver medals and 26 out of 30 possible points. (If he doesn’t, I will have more the reason to hate P-stupid-Chan because Oda should’ve won Skate Canada.)

Although many of us expected Adam Rippon to do well and get the bronze, he was a bit of a hot mess in the long and was 7th for that segment.

The person who stole the bronze was his teammate, Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who has perhaps the most amusing last name in history. Just say it really fast out loud. I assure you it’s fun. I must say, I don’t really know what I should think of this guy. Although this is neither here or there, I have to say that he’s pretty cute although his face, limbs and technique horrifyingly remind me of Evan Lysacek sometimes.

Like Lysacek, he has thin ankles and long arms and legs. Unlike Lysacek, he takes advantage of them some of the time and forms lovely sweeping lines that go on forever. Like Lysacek, he seems to have the unfortunate penchant for windmill arms. Unlike Lysacek, it’s not the only thing his upper body does and he does not grope his hair or body as Lysacek does. Unlike Lysacek, he does have a few interesting tricks in his bag like that spread eagle into a triple lutz (I wish his spread eagles had a little more flow and that he would hold the edges for just a little longer) and that interesting bent leg spin. Speaking of spins, he, unlike Lysacek has more variety with his spins. He is not limited to a camel, sit spin, pancake or shotgun combination spin. Also unlike Lysacek, he has a degree of musicality that allows him to skate to non-dramatic music. So in the end, I’m not sure what to make of this guy. I sort of want to bring him to a coach that will work on his edges and Shae Lynn Bourne for intricate and gorgeous choreography that would take advantage of his lines and get rid of all his random Lysacek-esque epileptic arm waving. Thoughts?

Podium:

Gold: Daisuke Takahashi (guaranteed a spot in the final)
Silver: Nobunari Oda
Bronze: Armin Mahbanoozadeh

Freeskate results here.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Skate America: Kana-chan is my hero

The ladies free skate has just ended and the adorable Kanako Murakami has won the gold, even though Rachael Flatt won the free skate. She snatches gold from Rachael by 2 points. Carolina Kostner didn’t totally freak out but she fell on a triple loop and singled an axel and doubled another loop. Not having a flip or lutz definitely hurt her scores as well. In any case, the 2010 junior World champion has made a splash in the senior ranks, that’s for sure! Yay for Kana-chan!

Podium:

Gold: Kanako Murakami (!)
Silver: Rachael Flatt
Bronze: Carolina Kostner

Full results here.

Skate America: Pairs LP – Final Flight

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy have just skated their LP and they should take the gold handily. The only thing I have to say is: “Aliona, did you really have to take the Pink Panther theme so far that you had to blind us with those hideous costumes?!?” Couldn’t she just wear a fierce bitch pink dress and just skate with it? My eyes hurt… the crazy sequins… the hot pink tights… ughhh.I mean, they did the only clown program I tolerated (clowns on ice are the worst, followed by a cowboy themed program which only my baby Chinese pair can get away with) but I don’t know if I can stand around watching that program again with those costumes. My eyes literally hurt. I’m not joking. In any case, their LP started with the biggest triple flip I have ever seen. Their choreography was filled with lovely transitions and spread eagles into elements. They were fast and the ending was pretty cute.

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch delivered a sloppy program with hands down on a throw triple salchow. There were some two-foot landings but somehow their scores were higher than Sui and Han. I would’ve put them ever so slightly below my baby Chinese pair because I do admit that the choreography and interpretation to their LP is pretty impressive. Those super long lifts at the end to the crescendos of the music are genius. These two are making a splash this year after teaming up in spring 2009. I hope to see them beat the mediocre Dube and Davison once they get their injured asses back on the ice. I’m not quite sure how Kirsten’s Heidi costume has to do with Les Miz though.

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han delivered one of their best performances for this LP. Admittedly, they are slower than some of the senior teams but they’ll get that speed in time. Their quad salchow was two footed but the fact that these two aren’t completely wiping out as most teams do when they attempt the element is already pretty impressive. With this 3rd place finish, they’ll probably end up in the finals along with the baby Russians. I’m looking forward to the growth of this team. They’re still rough around the edges and aren’t completely polished but their results are impressive for a team that have just come out of the junior ranks. The fact that their TES is right up there with some of the top teams shows that there could very possibly be a bright future for them. (Go for the gold in Sochi 2014, you two!)

Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett must be oh so disappointed that they were oh so close to the podium but missed it because of a fall on a throw triple loop (it might’ve been a salchow, my memory fails me at the moment). Unlike Aliona, Caydee sported a tastefully gorgeous blue dress (’cause they were skating to Rhapsody in Blue) which was more than easy on the eyes. If it were a full-length dress, I would totally wear it. Their program was otherwise solid but that fall was a total wipeout. These two scored higher than my baby Chinese pair on PCS but lost to them in terms of TES. (Actually, Sui and Han’s TES were only second to Savchenko and Szolkowy’s. =D) A pity because these two are really a decent team despite having such a short partnership.

Anyways, here are the results.

Gold: Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy
Silver:
Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch
Bronze:
Wenjing Sui and Cong Han

I will post a picture in the morning. Just to justify my mean comments on Aliona’s costume. Those who saw it would agree I hope.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Skate America: Pairs and Men’s SP

I watched the final flight for the pairs and men’s SP live.  Here are a few thoughts on the top 3 of each discipline:

Pairs

As much as I do like Savchenko and Szolkowy, that score was a little bit ridiculous. They’re currently in the lead. Aliona doubled her triple toe, their side-by-side spins were horrendously out of sync and she almost couldn’t hang on to the landing of their triple flip (which was HUGE). I would’ve ranked them 4th, below my baby Chinese pair but alas, figure skating doesn’t work that way. Their former World champion status does have some weight.

I didn’t watch the first flight, so I missed Moore-Tower and Moscovitch‘s SP (I’ll watch it tomorrow when the youtube videos surface) but they’re in second. Now that Tessa and Scott are not skating until perhaps Canadian nationals, I feel a bit of a resentment towards team Canada for the Chan debacle. I do admit that I did like Moore-Tower and Moscovitch’s LP at Skate Canada though. Having music from Les Miz helps too. (I’m currently playing “On my own” on repeat…)

Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett delivered a lovely performance. I didn’t think the music suited them but their throw triple lutz was gorgeous and their movements were nice and polished. Except for Denney’s awkward entry into her triple toe. (I’m seriously hating all the commentary that’s going on with the skatebuzz stream. I rather liked watching events with no commentary at all.)

My baby Chinese pair (Sui Wenjing and Han Cong (Sui should be pronounced “sway” rather than “su” by the way) did rather well and they’re only 1 point away from the podium. Their performance was definitely better than their Cup of China showing but having only a double axel as their jumping pass definitely hurts their score. Not being in China probably hurt their score too but in any case, they need to bring it in the LP if they want a medal. It would be very sad if they couldn’t make to the final because of the fact that they’ve been in competitions with more difficult competitors. Iliushechkina and Maisuradze will probably make it to the GPF but they were only 4th at junior Worlds last year while Sui and Han won the event.

Full results here.

Men

The entire night seemed to be filled with triple axel implosions. Tons of falls, step-outs and hands down on the triple axel. Adam Rippon stepped out of his axel but delivered a solid performance. His Rippon lutz was as impeccable as ever. Even if this guy ended up with some lame Morozombie program or some Lori Nichol I don’t give a f#%& for this skater choreorgraphy, I’d still look forward to seeing him skate just for the sake of seeing his Rippon lutz. It’s just too bad that Adam’s not rewarded in points for doing such a difficult manoeuvre. I demand points for this guy!

Daisuke Takahashi didn’t implode on his triple axel but he seemed to be tripping on his own feet once he came out of it. It was really weird. He also stepped out of his triple lutz but got tons of audience support on his step sequence. My inner fangirl was squealing at the sight as well.

Nobunari Oda produced a clean program and was in the zone. He channeled his warlord samurai ancestor well. He is the current leader by 1 point over Daisuke. I expect Daisuke to bring it in his long though. I’m also still waiting for Oda to produce that quad-toe, triple-toe his often does in practice. I’m looking very forward to seeing this battle of the Japanese men.

Full results here.

I’m looking forward to the ladies and ice dance event although I just wish that skatebuzz would stream everything with no commentary. That woman will not shut up for ANYTHING. Seriously. I watch the live stream so I don’t have to hear NBC or CBC commentary. It’s so distracting and I find myself annoyed at the commentators not staying silent when I’m watching a beautiful program. At least I have the consolation that she shut up back in 2008 when Tessa and Scott did their FD at Worlds. It just proves how amazing they were.

~The Rinkside Cafe

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