I ended up watching a lot of ladies practices with a gentleman who is an international judge & a former coach. He was not a judge at any of the events in L.A. I spent quite a lot of time with him, and he was very sweet and wonderful about sharing his thoughts on various ladies.
Rochette - Beautiful basic skills/edging and loved her cross overs & said her cross overs were almost text book beautiful. Pointed out how much lean she has on her stroking & how crisp her feet are. Went into more technical details but don't remember them now. Considers her a skater's skater because she has such wonderful underlying basic skills. Thought her LP had a lot of "substance" and was well "balanced". He wasn't sure if she could do a 3-3 in the future even if she is doing them in practices.
Kostner - Another skater with wonderful skating skill but pointed out that she wasn't timing her jumps well. Asked why her speed gets such high praise & he said because it makes doing the next element that much harder. Has wonderful on-ice presence & she knows how to "perform" for the judges. Loves her footwork because it really shows off her ability to control her blades w/out losing speed.
Mao - Wonderful soft knee & flow. Really likes her skating but didn't think her edging wasn't as nice as Rochette or Kostner's. Had me watch certain transition moves where she seems to skate more on flats or two feet than above two skaters. Thought she may have rushed into learning triple jumps too early & had doubts about being able to land 3L in L.A. because her timing seemed off. Loved her 3A but who doesn't?
YuNa - Has most natural rhythm in her jumps & loves the distance she gets in her jumps. Didn't think she would miss a jump in L.A. because she had such great timing on her jumps. Nice edging and expressive movement.
If anyone thinks that he was criticizing any particular skater, he wasn't. He was just pointing out what to look for and appreciate in each skater. We talked about other skaters as well, but I don't really remember.