A changing of the guard in the men’s discipline?
Since 2006 the Olympic and World podia have comprised Plushenko, Lambiel, Buttle, Joubert, Takahashi, Lysacek and Weir. Add Oda, Sandhu and Verner for fourth and fifth places.
Lambiel, retired (might he come back?)
Joubert, off to an awful start this year (second-best French men’s skater at Eric Bompard, achieved same placement as compatriot Candice Didier.)
Takahashi seriously injured – may be out for good.
Lysacek, Weir, -- like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, it takes all the running they can do just to stay in the same spot.
Oda, can he come back from a devastating psychological blow?
Verner, consistent enough to be a factor? Voronov?
Is 2010 reserved for Kozuka and Chan?
Last edited by Mathman; 11-18-2008 at 12:10 AM.
Maybe. I prefer Kozuku. Her simplistic and sublime style is really refreshing. He is so smooth on the ice and his jumps are high and secure. Hopefully he'll get a quad soon.
Chan is too frantic and juniorish.
Ice Dance Obsessee
Interesting topic, lots to think about.
Regarding Lambiel, it pains me to say so but I don't think he'll be back. He just did not seem happy last season and I think the injuries would make a return not worth it.
I'm waiting to comment on Johnny until NHK. He has a good chance to win, but I wasn't blown away by his programs at SA. IMO, his programs while with Priscilla Hill were much, much better. But hopefully it is just as he says, and that he was still working out the kinks so early in the season because he's never competed at SA before, correct?
Joubert has a history of not doing well at TEB, except for maybe one year IIRC. But finishing off the podium, even with stories of blade problems, is something I never expected. Do you think he has enough time to regroup before CoR?
Quite frankly, I haven't enjoyed Evan's skating since his "Singin in the Rain" days and although I feel bad for the hit his confidence must have taken, it wouldn't bother me all that much if he weren't on the World team. I don't think that would happen (unless he is still visibly struggling with some jumps at Nationals), but it wouldn't bother me.
I never got the big deal about Verner. He's so inconsistent- goes from hot to cold so quickly. When he's on he's a contender but when he's not...he's really not. I just don't know what to make of him.
I miss Takahashi already. Hoping for a speedy, smart recovery. Didn't Zhou injure his ACL in the season before the Olympics? S/Z came back to win the bronze, and I thought they should have gotten the silver (but that's a topic for a different thread).
I was really impressed with both Abbott and Carriere at CoC. IMO, Abbott has all the makings of a great champion. He just needs to be more consistent (which he is improving upon) and better nerves. If he can overcome the nerves again at CoR, I'll be really pleased. And Carriere did nothing for me last year, but I actually enjoyed watching him at CoC.
I really like Chan, but I think he needs more time with that 3A before I can think he is the one for 2010. And if Kozuka is going to keep putting that quad in, he needs to land it more consistently. Other than that I think both are developing really well.
Will be waiting to see how Oda skates.
But yes, overall I do think there is a bit of shaking up happening in the men's field. The gold medalists in the first four GPs weren't entirely expected, and nor where the performances of the men we'd expect to see ahead of them. It definitely makes for an interesting season and to an extent I think a lot of the same can be said for the ice dance field.
Off the ice
I'll answer your last question first: of course not. What we have seen from Kozuka and Chan so far is good GP performances. I wouldn't even call them great GP performances: Chan's LP at SC was filled with mistakes, while at TEB he did not have a clean skate either and was, IMHO, overmarked. Meanwhile, Kozuka's tendency to UR his quad is doing him no favors. Could they win it? Possibly; but I still think it's too soon to place them at the top, especially Chan, with his lack of a quad and inconsistent 3A. Also, between them they have 0 World medals, 0 GPF medals, and 0 4CC medals. So I'm going to take a more cautious approach to both. Really, of the three GP winners this season, I think Jeremy Abbott is easily the most impressive, and his skating has a maturity and grace to it that I find very appealing.
Originally Posted by Mathman
The rest: Verner could absolutely do it. He's got better jumps than most of the current men's field and his presentation is great. True, he has had consistency issues, but this strikes me as more related to learning to deal with expectations than to any inherent problem with his skating. We'll know more as the season progresses.
Joubert has had problems before, and they're almost always mental rather than physical. From 2005 Worlds and up to and including 2006 Olympics, he went through a very rough time, with his only wins coming at French Nats and French Masters. He bounced back then, and he can bounce back now. With Takahashi out for the forseeable future, I still believe that if Joubert skates as he's capable of doing, he'll win. Preaubert skated brilliantly at TEB and beat a mediocre (possibly less than that) Joubert by about one point. As for his placement relative to Candice Didier's, that speaks mostly to the poor standard in the ladies'. Worst case scenario, he could always revive The Matrix .
Lysacek I think could still surprise us. He strikes me as one very determined guy! Weir I'll admit to having some doubts about. But I'm not sure I'd want to judge their chances based on the GP season.
Takahashi, sadly, may be finished for this Olympic cycle. His injury is serious and rehab and training will take some time. I hope to see him in Vancouver, and if not there, then I hope he'll stick around for 2014.
What strikes me as unique with the current male skaters is that there wasn't really a changing of the guard after Torino, other than Plush; the same guys have been winning since the first half of the decade, and it's not until this season that we're seeing some movement in the ranks.
No - it was his achilles tendon. I'm not aware of any other top skater who had to deal with a torn ACL, though I'm sure Takahashi can't be the first.
Originally Posted by lmarie086
and... World Peace!
I am still holding out hope for both Evan and Johnny. I think at least one if not both will lay it down when it counts in Vancouver....
Gadfly and Bon Vivant
As a known quad hater, I'll just mention that the only two skaters I know of with consistent multi-year quads that kept their quads throughout their eligible career and didn't come to a bad end were Yagudin and Plushenko, the latter more than the former whose eligible career, and thus quad days, were shorter.
Maybe Joubert but he's always been an up and down kind of competitor.
I think it's basically the equipment which hasn't changed much in how many decades? There's also CoP which wears skaters out, either quads or a full program you're not getting both with CoP.
Without some sort of major upgrade in skate technology I'd say men are better advised to not necessarily go for the quad and get a full set of six triples (with no edge deductions) instead.
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
I really do think the tide has offically changed with Buttle's win at worlds last year. Th skaters like Evan and Brian will not be dominant anymore. The young guys with the great edges and high levels on the non-jump elements seem to be taking the world by storm. Chan, Kozuka, even Johhny Weir could be grouped with them if he stopped trying the dumb quad.
the Quad is out. I hope that the american boys realize that and put all that time and effort into footwork and spins and getting their triple fully roatated.
Having been through the knee replacement surgery myself, I can only think of what Daisuke has to go through, if that is what is happening for him
It will take care of the pain but one can well lose the flexibility of that joint, and the ensuing arthritus is chronic. Hope Dais' knee is not going through replacement. And Lambiel has never been jumping as well (including the 3A) after 2005 Worlds with his chronic knee problems. It hurts mentally as well as physically.
Weir has remained injury free as far as I know and he is an excellent skater and capable of skating his best at competitions. Will he? I think so.
Lysacek, who does have injuries but he's a type to skate through the pain. As long as it doesn't get to him, he'll be around.
Verner - I am not aware of any injuries that would preclude him from skating his best, and his best is excellent.
Joubert seems to have lost his joie de patinage. I believe he is injury free, so we should check out Euros and Worlds to see if he gets it back.
I don't think any changing of guard will take place until after 2010 Olys but I do see several male skaters waving adieu after that.
I quite agree.
Originally Posted by Tonichelle
It's way too soon in the season to count Evan out. He did some major regrouping during the off season and it will take time for all the pieces to fit together. He knows he has work to do - I think SA and SC were proving grounds and he'll take what he learned there to come out stronger than ever. He has the amazing ability to sell whatever program he skates to and bring the audience into his performances with him. Right now the biggest thing I see is that the joy is back for him and that can make all the difference. I think he's on track to peak in the Olympic season - all that comes before is part of the process.
Johnny is a question mark - looks to me as if he's lost interest. No spark in programs that seem a rehash of other seasons efforts. Hopefully that will change and he too will find renewed joy in his skating - which seems to me to be missing this season.
But neither should be counted out for the Olympic season.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
Johnny isn't injury free, he's had a recurring landing foot injury that has flared up from time to time since Worlds 2005 (the most recent flareup was at last year's grand prix finals) and he has a back injury that flared up in Calgary 2006 (resulting in that terrible fall in the free skate) and last year's Nationals.
Vancouver 2010, 247.23, Bronze
2010 is reserved for those who manage to stay healthy, train smart and want it badly enough? I have no idea as to who will win IT, but the skating gods probably do.
On the contrary, Johnny is more determined than ever. He missed the gold at Skate America by 1 point. Can't wait for NHK trophy !
Originally Posted by merrybari
and... World Peace!
I agree, for me with Evan's chronic injuries he is a question mark. considering he said a few years ago the doctors advised him not to skate there's only so much abuse his body will take. Has he gone through a season yet where he hasn't had to pull out of at least one competition without injury? missing out on the GPF this year might be a godsend in a way.
Johnny's body is a bit healthier, he just has to keep it together mentally. His season last year was a big step forward, his momentum somewhat stalled out of the gate at Skate America, though he didn't bomb or anything... he did come ahead of Evan, though, and that's important especially going into nationals.
I think at this point they're even as far as who is the better bet. You've got the better technique in Johnny, and you've got Evan's fighting spirit. Johnny has to find that fight and fire that he had at nationals and just go for it full out. I believe they both can take the world by storm if they do it, but if Evan's new plan is to let Frank reign him in until the olys (or if that's Galina's plan for Johnny) then they're going to be left out at least this season.
Ice Dance Obsessee
That, is probably the best way to put it actually. Well said.
Originally Posted by Hsuhs
I love Johnny, but I've got to agree about the missing spark. I think he's been missing it for a long, long time now. It comes back in glimpses, like at 2008 Nationals, but most of the time he looks like he's suffering through his programs-he's wired so tight. That doesn't mean that he isn't determined or anything like that. I know how hard he's trying. It's just that his youthful, nothing- to- lose, carefree skating is gone. It's harder when you get older. I hope it comes back occasionally, though, it was so special.
Originally Posted by merrybari
As for the rest, I feel so bad that we lost Takahashi for the whole season, Stephane, Buttle are gone, Joubert and Verner are not skating well. I even feel for Lysacek, mostly because people are writing him off and that's silly. He does need to do something about that 3A, though, or he'll keep getting hosed by the judges.
Since I am not impressed by Chan or any of the "new" guys (although I think Kozuka is adorable), I am really rooting for the "old guard" to pull themselves together and show these kid's who's boss!