I am sure that Orser will guide (and protect) Nam to make the right choice for Nam, but Canada is in such a dead zone right now while we wait for the next wave, I would guess that they are trying their best to persuade Nam to step up.
Watching the junior worlds, and seeing the interaction of the junior skaters amongst each other (they really seem to get along), and getting the impression that the wave of junior skaters coming up (take any of Nathan Chen, Pitkeev, Boyang Jin, Shoma Uno) is going to be like a tidal wave (seriously, bank on it) when it hits seniors, it would kind of break my heart to see Nam separated away from juniors.
Juniors is amazing to watch for men right now (can't get that chatanooga choo choo song out of my head, thank you very much Mr. Chen).
Regarding the U.S. GP event, I would be very surprised if both Hanyu and Brown aren't there together, and those tickets have to be worth their weight in gold.
Hanyu's pattern, other than his first and second year in seniors, for grand prix preliminary events seems to be not to go to the same place two years in row, and, for events generally over the year, to have as broad of a competitive experience and exposure geographically as possible. I don't know if he does that always intentionally, but it seems to be noticeably a pattern for him. For next season, if he does not go to Skate America or Skate Canada (worlds are Shanghai, GPF is in Barcelona and 4CC is in Seoul), he will have no competitions at all in North America. I think that, unless he had to go somewhere else, he would want one event in North America. I don't think that he will want to do Skate Canada two years in a row. I think, unless overruled, he will choose Skate America. I know there are other considerations, but those considerations (like Skate America having a good field) would seem to support going to Skate America (he is not afraid of competing against anyone) rather than not going there. I don't have inside information of how Hanyu thinks or strategizes. He is full of surprises and wiser at what he does than any of his critics, competitors or fans who think they have him figured out or second guess him. So admittedly it is just a hunch from having followed him very closely for the last four years. (And I could be wrong.)
I know that ultimately it is the federations and the ISU who decide who goes where, but if there is one skater who probably gets his first choices, I would put my money on it that the skater is Hanyu.
As for Skate America, the USFSA wants to do two things. First, it wants its own skaters to qualify for GPF, and second it wants a big draw for its own events. This year, it also has a free hand because it is not restricted by the 1-2-3 and 4-5-6 protocol (providing Abbott retires . . . forever the monkey wrench is Mr. Abbott). It can invite whoever it wants, and Hanyu is a fantastic choice along with their own Jason Brown.
Hanyu and Brown are the perfect combination because, despite their individual dominating personalities and over-the-top charisma, put on the same rink together neither of these two detracts from the other. They seem to make each other look better and skate better, and they are both really great pr for the sport. They are both the real deal. I am not sure how Skate America will market it, but having them together would certainly present a lot of great possibilities. It just makes sense to me.
One thing Skate Canada and Skate America are excellent at over the years is selecting entries who benefit their home skaters. Basically assembling as weak a field as possible. I am sure that will happen again this year, and both will be very clever, more than any of the grand prixs, to face the home skaters. I dont think you will see Hanyu at Skate America. They will probably pick Brown, but they want to hold out hope of a miracle victory to hype their next big star of the sport (at the Olympics the hype machine on him in the US really began), and they sure as heck wont want Hanyu, a skater he has no hope of beating. They will most likely pick someone like Machida instead.
Weaver & Poje will get SC probably and they will select a team like the Shibutanis as the next seed, assembling an overall weak field to ensure them of their first grand prix win.
Duhamel & Radford will also get SC and SC will do a fine job as they did this season in gathering the weakest field they can buy the rules to ensure them of winning (although they essentialy did that this season but D&R had so many mistakes they lost anyway).
Just read that Shoma competed in senior level today in Italy. That's the one that surprised me.
I think Hanyu "chooses" Skate Canada as long as Orser is with him.
The second event is of course NHK.
Machida - SA and TEB
Fernandez - China and Russia
SkAm is in Chicago-a reasonably close trip for team Orser. Skate Canada is in Kelowna, B.C, which is a lot further from home for them. The Americans are pretty weak, and Yuzuru can easily try out his programs at SkAm, which I think is the first event on the GP list again, and have plenty of time to revise them, if he needs to. If I were Yuzuru, I would go to SkAm. Furthermore, Javi and Yuzuru can't do them same GP because they both medalled at Worlds, which means Orser has to go to 4 GP's. He will surely want one of them to be SkAm, because it is closer to the Cricket Club. Yuzuru will be doing NHK.
Machida can only do NHK if Japan uses a host pick for him. The Japanese fed did that to get Dai and Yuzuru at the same NHK. I can't say whether they will do that for Machida. To maximize his chance for a GPF slot, they surely would want him to compete somewhere Yuzuru is not skating. I'm assuming that Kozuka will do NHK as well.
Kozuka will probably do NHK as his pick
Han Yan gets a pick if Abbott retires; he will surely do CoC.
Kovtun will surely do Russia. I bet the Russians also ask Voronov, and will ask Pitkeev so that he gets 2 slots, coming up from Juniors.
Chafik Besseghier finished ninth at Worlds. As such, he is the highest French finisher at Worlds, and earned the 2 spots. The French fed will surely invite him, as well as Amodio, to TEB. Will they go to Brian on bended knee to come out of retirement?
Nam Nguyen and Kevin Reynolds probably go to Skate Canada. Orser may push Javi to go too, since he will have to go for Nam.
As to wild cards.
The French have invited Peter Liebers before.
Ivan Righini-will he go to CoR?
So those are my guesses.
Nathan Chen turns 15 in May. I think he will stay Junior. In which case, it's unclear who the 3 US men at Skam will be. I think Jason is a given. Not only is near home for him, and with Jeremy retiring, he'd be effectively US 1 for now, but as he wasn't at Worlds, USFSA needs to use a host invite to get him. I suspect USFSA will also invite Max Aaron, because it likes to stage these pre-nationals shootouts at the OK corral, for the draw at the gate, and ignores the fact that they are making it harder for one of their guys to earn a GPF slot.
Some odd points:
Jeremy Ten retired, I thought, so probably he will not be at Skate Canada.
Last edited by dorispulaski; 03-29-2014 at 05:36 PM.
Also let's not forget that he chose SA back in 2012 and they gave it to him. If they wanted to dilute the field for reigning U.S. champ Jeremy Abbott, they wouldn't have extended an invite to the reigning World bronze medalist.
Or why would they have invited three Japanese men in 2013 to compete against reigning champion Max Aaron, including Daisuke Takahashi? Yes Aaron ended up beating Takahashi but nobody thought that would happen before the competition.
And not mention the obvious, Skate America attracts A LOT OF JAPANESE FANS.
I wouldn't be surprised if it's Hanyu, Kozuka and Mura.
That is true that there do tend to be alot of Japanese, especialy Japanese men invited to Skate America. However at the time of Skate America 2012 Hanyu was clearly the weakest of the 3 world medalists (Chan, Takahashi, Hanyu).
many times, including in 2006, their first year as seniors
And oh yeah, they invited Mao Asada last year who beat Ashley.
I think Jason will end up at Skate America because the USFSA likes to parade their National Champion at home (like last year with Max) and since Jeremy is not continuing, Jason is the de facto National Champion.
It would not surprise me to then see Max or Joshua get one of the other spots, probably Joshua since he's not guaranteed two spots but he was 4th at Nationals.
And of all the options listed, I hope Douglas Razzano gets the other spot. Or Alexander Johnson!
For Jason's second GP, I'd like to see him at NHK for purely selfish reasons, since I think the Japanese fans would just lap him up and if that's going to increase his earning potential via shows then I'm all for it.
Joshua might end up at CoR again - maybe for the match-up factor with Kovtun? Junior Rivals on the Senior Stage? It didn't happen last year because of Josh's sprained ankle, but it would be interesting to see how they went head-to-head.
Max got NHK and SkAm last year. Confidence-wise, NHK might not be a good idea next year. He was 7th at NHK but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as the number made out because of the pure strength of the NHK field.