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Thread: Ten Questions in search of answers at Skate Canada

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    Ten Questions in search of answers at Skate Canada

    10. Is Javier Fernandez laughing all the way to the bank?
    Okay, I have to admit that Fernandez’s recent interview that saw the Spanish skater get a few digs in at his former training mate raised my eyebrows a little (he really did react negatively in that environment). In that same interview, he referred to Orser (his new coach) in paternal terms so what was initially going to be a temporary “let’s see how this goes” has become permanent (or as permanent as these things get). It’ll be interesting to see how he holds up at SC. Nebelhorn suggested he was going in the right direction.

    9. Can Takahashi catch Chan?

    It’s clear that Chan’s specific skill set and the current rules together make a match from heaven. After worlds, Takahashi spoke of the momentum shift that happened after Chan’s National LP – he said he couldn’t catch Chan, couldn’t convince the judges that he should retain his title (though to be fair, what he did on the ice wasn’t enough regardless, something he admitted freely). I think the Japanese skater has stronger programs in general, but I have to admit I’m really quite taken with Aranjuez for Chan – it’s formal complexity is amazing and the way some parts of it sneak up on me (it’s a wonderfully subtle program) has me marvelling. I really like Blues for Klook for Takahashi, but it’s not him yet, if that makes sense.

    8. Ross and Rippon.....?

    I’ve mentioned before, I’ll say it again – I have no idea what to do with the American men. Any combination of a half dozen could surprise at Nationals (the only competition that matters to the stars and stripes) and I don’t know who it’ll be. I’ve gotta say, I’m not feeling Sato/Dunjien for Rippon though. And I honestly don’t know if Miner’s fluke last year will be repeated.

    7. Are Balde and DeSanctis allowed to compete?
    Neither got the minimum score, but are still listed. Are host skaters exempt? Or is this like ISU letting a third Chinese team compete at World juniors when they only had two spots? If it’s former, it’s another example of how poor this new GP system is. If it’s the latter, it’s an example of the ISU really not being on the ball here.

    6. Can Rogozine and Tuktamisheva make a mark?
    The world junior champion and silver medalists in their international senior ISU debut.... should be interesting. Rogozine can go to worlds this year whereas she cannot, so for her, this is about creating some momentum, some feeling that the following season will be hers. For him, this is about demonstrating across the board improvement. He’s following Chan’s lead by adding the quad in the short and long, and he’s got the kind of body that can probably land fully rotated ones (very Goebel like), and he’s got the most reliable 3A of the current Canadian men. He looks like he’s amped up the PCS side of things as well – better choreography and interpretation at least. Hopefully he’s worked on his edging – smoothed it out a little, because it seemed laboured last season. His goal can/should be to replace Reynolds as the number two guy at Worlds.

    5. Will this be Akiko Suzuki’s chance to shine?

    Oh, I hope so. She’s such a delightful skater and for her to be overlooked again is an anathema to me. I’ll always treasure her West Side Story LP at the GPF 09 and her delight. Some skaters make skating look like a job – like something they do because they had a passion for it once, a long time ago. Some make it look like a hobby. She makes it look like joy. I hope she emerges from this season as a true medal contender at Worlds.

    4. Does Nagasu respond to the challenge?
    Alissa Czisny threw it down. She’s going for the 3-3. She’s going to try the salchow. Does Nagasu respond? For all skaters, every season is important, but right now, Nagasu needs to create some momentum if she truly wants to be taken seriously as a medal contender in Sochi. No more random bombing. No more missed spins. I’ve heard people describe her as the best skater in the world. Frankly, I don’t see it. Prove it. I’d argue that if she loses here to Tuktamisheva, she loses way too much ground.

    3. The Canadian pairs – a study in contrasts

    Moore-Towers/Moscovitch set the bar at Skate America. They upped their technical game by going for three side by side triples in the long and are probably gonna land them cleanly soon. So, the other Canadian teams need to respond. Now, I always assumed that Duhamel/Radford had the inside track to Canadian Nationals this season. They have high base value jumps that will absorb A LOT in errors. Their elements came together relatively quickly (even the triple twist, something she’s struggled with in the past, broken nose aside). D/R have slightly better SS as well, meaning that I suspect the remaining PCS will come more easily. But Mt/M showed a masterclass in doing well with what you’ve got. Lawrence/Sweigers, despite being the most interesting choreographically, give up too much ground on the jumps (prone to UR, simpler ones) so while they’ve improved the PCS side as well from what we saw at Indy, I don’t think they’ll challenge. Especially if they don’t get a second GP.

    2. The “third” teams – Chock/Bates, Riazanova/Tkachenko, Weaver/Poje
    Third isn’t accurate. Chock/Bates aren’t the third team, but they are a team comprised of skaters who were part of third teams, and are certainly fighting for the third slot. W/P aren’t the third team either, but so much of their skating has been shadowed by that position. R/T... no doubt, last season, they were the third team. So what happens now?

    C/B are so new that a top five placement would be incredible and demonstrate how “in the hunt” they are. But this is a rich field, so lower shouldn’t be seen as failure. Weaver/Poje are definitely on an upswing since last season. How does training beside the top European team help them? Krylova knows what a negative training environment is like from her days as an ice dancer, so hopefully she’s managed to avoid most of the pitfalls therein. It’s R/T I’m most curious about. Their FD is superb. They’ve got a great connection. I really think they should be frontrunners for Russian Nationals, but politicking gets in the way. Hopefully that’s motivation and not frustration.

    1. The World Silver Medalists

    So, the honeymoon’s over with Volosozhar/Trankov. Last season saw them skate so well at Nationals and Worlds that all eyes went to Sochi. We assumed if they improved so much in such a short time, that they would easily eclipse S/S (who rarely skate clean). But it seems they’ve had some growing pains. Admittedly, it’s early in the season, but the flaws (her lack of expression, Morosov) are peeping through the cracks. Now, I quite like their short, but their long.... ayiyi. Especially when compared to the modern dance complexity of S/S. Of course, they have the federation on their side.

    “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!” That’s the sound of panicked fans and passive-aggressive passers-by after Davis/White’s epic free dance at Skate America. Those of us that assumed V/M would return to their title this season didn’t expect that dance to happen so quickly. Now, V/M have always been slow to peak in any given season. They didn’t peak until the Olympics that season and lost to D/W in the GPF. But if you assumed it would be a fait accompli.... well, guess again. It’ll be interesting to see how they score at SC. If they’ve got their levels in line (the biggest issue at Finlandia) they should be fine (it’s worth noting that PCS for V/M were only about 2/3’s of a point behind). The big question, of course, is have they?

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Dance:
    I would be very, very surprised if V&M aren't much improved from Finlandia. They train alongside D&W. They know how insanely hard they have been working. V&M are great competitors. They will not have been sitting on their hands, counting medals before earning them. My question for them is whether they have improved the HipHipChinChin part of their SD? That section was just excellent last year in their FD, and yet the same section as shown at Finlandia was quite disappointing to me, perhaps partially because I had such high expectations of it.

    Where are Pushkash & Guerreiro going to slot in in the Russian pecking order? Guerreiro is the old partner of Riazanova who left him unexpectedly for Tkachenko. They are trained by Linichuk, who will certainly want them to look competitive. Unfortunately, they lost some training time this summer, so SC will be interesting.

    Who's worse, P&I or H&G? And who thought that would be the question at this point? P&I were thought to be a lock in for the third Canadian spot for worlds, perhaps even challenging for W&P's 2nd place spot, before W&P knocked it out of the park at Worlds. And yet, for whatever reason, they have yet to skate a decent SD in 3 tries in international events. This is W&P's opportunity to create distance between themselves and the rest of the Canadian pack. It is H&G's chance to make a run to be heirs apparent to the third Canadian slot.

    Have R&T got the goods to at least have the edge for the 1st or 2nd Russian slot? Their FD is nice, but they are using the same composer and piece of music (but different cuts) by Sviridov as last year's well-received SD. Sometimes repurposing of dances is not well received in dance circles.

    How is Fabian Bourzat's bronchitis? Will he be better, so P&B can skate their programs better than they did at S&A, finishing closer to V&M than they did to D&W, or worse, allowing themselves to perhaps drop to 3rd here behind W&P who were directly behind them at Worlds last year?

    And how do Capellini & Lanotte fit into this event? Will they have improved their power in skating? A lack of speed has kept them looking like skilled, promising....juniors. Their current coach is Morosov. I'm wondering what the Morozovation of C&L looks like?

    And finally, Chock/Bates. How much will they have improved since Finlandia where they finished 3rd behind V&M and the Shibutanis? Will Evan have developed any Latin moves in the interim?
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 10-24-2011 at 10:28 AM.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    In answer to no. 9, I don't think anyone believes Takahashi can catch Chan unless Chan has an uncharacteristic meltdown. It makes me sad as I adore Daisuke... but I love Patrick too so I'm not THAT sad. Most in the prediction thread expect Daisuke to place 2nd, though. :sheesh: I think at this point most are looking for exciting skates from him, more than championships. (We'll take 'em, though!)

    I don't understand no. 10. Did I miss something (besides Javy's Nebelhorn skates?)?

    Re: 8, I have more interest in Ross than Rippon at this point. I'm yet to be convinced that Adam can leap up to the top tier. But more than either of those, I'm interested in Denis Ten. I think that young man has everything - including Frank Carroll. It's not his time yet, but will he announce himself (again)?

    No. 5: I fear Suzuki has peaked. I don't think the judges think her best is good enough to outscore Nagasu (fingers crossed) or Tut. I expect her to shine in the sense of wonderful skating though. I'm wondering if Ashley will step up, though, and what impact we will see from her new coaching setup (Mr Nicks and Philip Mills). And I'm wondering if Phaneuf will ever go away. Sorry, she's just too big and those eyebrows are scary.

    No. 4: The million-dollar question! Go, Mirai!

    No. 1: Give V/M a little more credit. I will be very surprised if they don't outdo even D/W's amazing FS... if not here, then by the end of the season. They'll figure out what it takes and do it!

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I have more interest in Ross, too. But that's because I have heard some very good things about the choreo in Ross's LP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post

    9. Can Takahashi catch Chan?

    It’s clear that Chan’s specific skill set and the current rules together make a match from heaven. After worlds, Takahashi spoke of the momentum shift that happened after Chan’s National LP – he said he couldn’t catch Chan, couldn’t convince the judges that he should retain his title (though to be fair, what he did on the ice wasn’t enough regardless, something he admitted freely). I think the Japanese skater has stronger programs in general, but I have to admit I’m really quite taken with Aranjuez for Chan – it’s formal complexity is amazing and the way some parts of it sneak up on me (it’s a wonderfully subtle program) has me marvelling. I really like Blues for Klook for Takahashi, but it’s not him yet, if that makes sense.

    8. Ross and Rippon.....?

    I’ve mentioned before, I’ll say it again – I have no idea what to do with the American men. Any combination of a half dozen could surprise at Nationals (the only competition that matters to the stars and stripes) and I don’t know who it’ll be. I’ve gotta say, I’m not feeling Sato/Dunjien for Rippon though. And I honestly don’t know if Miner’s fluke last year will be repeated.
    All I know so far is that Chan's program is far more appealing to me than Takahashi's. I'm kind of tired of Takahashi's style in his new LP.

    As of Ross or Rippon, it truly is a question! I'd think Rippon hasn't had a breakthrough technically in all these senior years, it looks like Ross has the upper hand. Who knows?

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    Though I like Takahashi's new LP, his performance at JO lacked energy, essential for his style. He also failed most jumps, with URs and a fall after which he took a long time to get back to the program. In the Predictions thread, I said he needs to be fit and to have his head together to be on the podium. I hope his jump problems were related to fitness and training rather than a technical regression. It was an extreme travesty for him to lose to Amodio.

    Okay, I have to admit that Fernandez’s recent interview that saw the Spanish skater get a few digs in at his former training mate raised my eyebrows a little (he really did react negatively in that environment).
    He was honest about having been unhappy with the situation of Amodio getting more attention from their coach but I don't read "digs" at Amodio personally. I read some interpretation of his claim that he's a happy person and dislikes grumpy people as aiming at Amodio but I think that's an unbased projection. There were also reports of him looking very happy and smiling the whole time practicing in the rink. That would substantiate his satisfaction with his current training situation and his happy nature, but not bitterness about his former training mate.

    I just hate that someone's posted negative interpretation of a skater's words gets accepted and becomes a base and premise to build up an undeserved image.
    Last edited by SkateFiguring; 10-25-2011 at 03:16 PM.

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    I thought "the sky is falling" referred to your own opinion on V/T. That's seemed like a sky is falling kind of comment to me! I don't think she lacks expression that much and Morosov a flaw?

    I do look forward to Rogozine's spread eagle 3A and quad if he lands it.

    I know there is a Russian Ice Dance pecking order of B/S, I/K and R/T but except for B/S it is not solid at all with the federation jumping at the chance to give K/A high marks and now that team no longer exists. Russian Federation is looking for a team that does not exist as of yet that they can push this whole season. Do they care about Ice Dance that much anymore? Does it seem like they want dance as much as ladies and pairs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    I don't understand no. 10. Did I miss something (besides Javy's Nebelhorn skates?)?

    No. 1: Give V/M a little more credit. I will be very surprised if they don't outdo even D/W's amazing FS... if not here, then by the end of the season. They'll figure out what it takes and do it!
    1. When Javier Fernandez left Morosov for Orser, he stated very plainly that it was because he felt overlooked (Morosov spending all his time with Amodio). In a later interview, it was clear he doesn't like Amodio and that the training environment wasn't all that good (it's also worth mentioning that Gedevanishvili left Morosov for Orser sometime after that). Now that Amodio's debuted with two poorly received programs and a not great competition....

    SF, it might be projection, but these are the quotes I was referring to:

    Q: No, in the sport in general, what do you like most about skating? Or is there anything you don't like in this sport?


    A: Ah, in the sport I really don't like the people who want to go to Europeans or anything and use stuff that's not allowed, because I personally don't like it. And I don't know, I cannot say anything else. I mean, as in all sports that you do like a job you have to put in a lot of work. All sports are different, there is many in this sport that I understand, but I don't understand it all. I think everybody has to work for themselves and they have to do, you know, their stuff.
    Amodio elected to use vocals in his free skate at Worlds, so I think it was fairly clear who he was talking about here (despite the Europeans comment).

    Q: What kind of people do you not like?


    A: The people who are really proud of themselves, the people who are like „Oh, I'm the best.“. I don't like those people. I don't like those people who are mad everyday. I always feel like smiling all my life, so I feel like telling them to smile.
    I fully admit that this is projection, but it's easy to imagine Fernandez, already bothered by Morosov's attention towards Amodio, meaning Amodio here, particularly because he does project a lot of confidence, and that could easily border on arrogance, especially if you're predisposed to view the situation negatively.

    --As for V/M, of course I'll give them credit. And I should probably avoid FSU this season--

    re: Phaneuf. Don't worry, she said she'll consider retiring after this season.

    re: Takahashi - I'll wait until after SC, but I really do wonder about him now.

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    Now, V/M have always been slow to peak in any given season.
    I disagree. Tessa and Scott, before the injuries, debuted very strongly. Remember UOC at Skate Canada? If not, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3MNcPL2SSo . I think the injury really changed their ability to prepare as thoroughly as they did before. Plus, they say that they are taking a relaxed approach to training. Long weekends. Cracking one liners from the movie. They're not stressing themselves out. They're pacing themselves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avqxVInhNT0

    Compare that to Davis and White... their language is basically we're looking to attack this season. We're skating like we've never won anything. Look at us pushing those weights. We're strong, determined, history on our shoulders. "If you doing do your job, you're not going to be rewarded and you don't deserve to be" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBgnNK4j0-0 . Their discourses are very different. I think it affects how they want to train, how their year will progress and the image around them. if Tessa and Scott had wanted that characterization, they would've gone for it. As it stands, I just get the sense that they're happy to be here, healthy and taking the time to love each moment.
    Last edited by leil; 10-25-2011 at 09:29 PM.

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    hmmm....#7 (re skaters being allowed to compete w/o qualifying) is a good question - that I know nothing about. Really hope the ISU isn't playing cutesy with the rules. If they are, then I have some rules I'd like them to change to help out some of my favorites too

    It will be interesting what Mirai, Adam and Ross will bring. They all could be great - it's up to them to answers our questions - but so far I have hope!

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    IPogue, I agree Hernandez was likely referfing to Amodio's, and Morozov's, rule breaking at Worlds. What he did say, and alluded to, that involved Amodio were known facts. But as to people he didn't like, that was in response to specific question posed to him. The answer was quite general and in line with his happy nature. I just don't see the need to assume he was digging at Amodio. Happy people are generally not very passive aggressive or good at holding grudges, IMO and observation. It's hard to be happy when one harbours such negative emotions. Hernandez confronted Morozov and decided to leave. Such action taking is more in congruence with his character as self described, as I perceived from his interview, and per observations of his demeanor by witnesses.

    I wasn't pointing at you by my last statement in my last post. I think someone else first expressed such interpretation and it led others to make the same assumption and I just hate for such uncertain and unverified characterization to take root as a "fact" and "general knowledge". An interpretation could become an impression and grow into a reputation. I don't wish for it to happen to another nice and talented skater if I could help nip it. Let his true character come out over time at other opportunities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmyers View Post
    I thought "the sky is falling" referred to your own opinion on V/T. That's seemed like a sky is falling kind of comment to me! I don't think she lacks expression that much and Morosov a flaw?

    I do look forward to Rogozine's spread eagle 3A and quad if he lands it.

    I know there is a Russian Ice Dance pecking order of B/S, I/K and R/T but except for B/S it is not solid at all with the federation jumping at the chance to give K/A high marks and now that team no longer exists. Russian Federation is looking for a team that does not exist as of yet that they can push this whole season. Do they care about Ice Dance that much anymore? Does it seem like they want dance as much as ladies and pairs?
    Lets flashback to Worlds 2011 for a moment, shall we? The level of excitement surrounding Volosozhar/Traknov had reached a fever pitch after their LP. They stated that they wanted to skate cleanly first, so they didn't do the biggest technical tricks they were capable of, nor the most complex choreography. No one questioned that - it made sense. You need to grow as a pair before that's likely. And frankly, they were so good, so on (remember the unison on the SBS spins in the short? Or how about that sky high triple twist!) that we all fell for it. I don't know anyone who didn't assume that THAT skate meant that Sochi gold was gonna be between them and S/S.

    Now, for me, two things happened.

    The first was a renewed appreciation for Savchenko/Szolkowy. I've stated, here and elsewhere, that I felt that the results of the first half of the Olympic season were a repudiation of the previous four years - with Shen/Zhao coming back and clearly dominant. In my mind, it's rather telling how quickly they became the favourites for the gold medal and how easily S/S fell aside. Now, frankly, they were hurt by the disaster that was TEB, but more than that - the judges weren't holding them up like they might in other circumstances. They went from a team that was undefeated (2007/08 season) to a team with only one defeat (2008/2009) to a season where they only had ONE victory (Skate Canda). Because I've been quite disappointed with the top pairs in general, I didn't mind this. But revisiting some of their programs, I see no less than three masterful LPs (The Mission, L'Oiseau, and Out of Africa) and their choreographic range is amazing. Now, it's hard to not want the Olympics to be a lifetime achievement award in some sense - ideally, great skaters with storied careers have a GREAT skate and win it, so I have to admit that I'm really hoping they do well in Sochi.

    The other thing is Morosov. Morosov. And Morosov. Now, it's clear some people just gell with him: Miki Ando. Grushina/Goncharov. Florent Amodio. Bourne.... (and Kraatz). That's important, and undeniable. And if V/T do gell with him like they've stated in interviews, all the more power to him/them. But one thing he doesn't do is make his teams SPECIAL. This sounds silly, but with their talent and work ethic, if Volosozhar/Trankov don't end up as one of the all time great pairs, I'll be disappointed. I don't think Morosov will give them the programs to do that. On the other hand, Steuer has basically elevated S/S, who are incredible but not specifically incredible at one thing, to another level.

    re: Russian Federation - I suspect they want ladies the most, pairs next, dance third, and men fourth.

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    Isn't Morozov all about winning with doing the least possible? With him it's not about being special or the best of what a skater can be.

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    Well, yes. That's the bad news.

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    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    Well, I've been trying to formulate my thoughts on the 10 questions , but I just have to jump in here, before I'm done because I'm totally with you, Pogue concerning V/T and S/S.

    I feel so let down with what I've seen from V/T so far. I'm not even sure I'm OK with their SP and the FP is just a terrible waste of incredible talent IMO.

    I can't say I've always liked Ingo's choreo , but every once in a while he does something really good ( such as those programs you mentioned ).This year I really like both their programs , which surprises and delights me. I'm rooting for them to skate well , and devoutly hoping V/T will go elsewhere next year .

    SkateFiguring ..I think your assessment of Morozov is just about spot on , but maybe it should read " doing the least possible which he attempts to disguise by including a few bumps and grinds. "

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