Friday, October 30, 2015

2015 Skate Canada International Preview/Predictions

I was only 3 for 12 with my Skate America podium predictions—let’s see if I can do any better this week when the Grand Prix parade moves to Lethbridge (Alberta) for SKATE CANADA INTERNATIONAL!!


CONTENDERS: Weaver/Poje, Bobrova/Soloviev, Monko/Khaliavin, Fournier Beaudry/Sorensen, Shibutanis

GOLD: Weaver/Poje
SILVER: Shibutanis
BRONZE: Monko/Khaliavin
DARK HORSE: Bobrova/Soloviev

Weaver/Poje have competed at SkCAN five times so far, have medaled four of those times, finally winning in 2014. They missed the mark at Worlds, but they won’t miss it here. Be on the lookout for the Shib Sibs’ FD to Coldplay’s “Fix You”. My initial take? It’s good, but I look forward to it getting even better as the season rolls out.

I have Bob/Solo as my DH but they’re really more of a wild card, given that they haven’t competed at ANY major event since Sochi.


CONTENDERS: Kaetlyn Osmond, Elizabet Tursynbaeva, Alena Leonova, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Polina Edmunds, Ashley Wagner

GOLD: Tuktamysheva
SILVER: Wagner
BRONZE: Osmond

World Champ Liza T. is here, but for me, the bigger story is the return of Kaetlyn O. (as in Osmond). She missed last season due to a broken leg, but also withdrew from both her GP events in 2013 because of a torn hamstring... so barring any new injuries, this will actually be her first full GP appearance aside from the 2012 edition of SkCAN (where she emerged with the win). I anticipate her doing well here, but also think adrenaline and excitement might lead to a few mistakes—which is why I put Wagner ahead of her.

But I’m keeping an eye on Edmunds, who is capable of pulling down some HUGE technical scores thanks to her ample arsenal of 3-3 combos.


CONTENDERS: Duhamel/Radford, Moore-Towers/Marinaro, Marchei/Hotarek, Tarasova/Morozov

GOLD: Duhamel/Radford
SILVER: Tarasova/Morozov
BRONZE: Marchei/Hotarek
DARK HORSE: Moore-Towers/Marinaro

Can anyone beat Duhamel/Radford these days?? Yeah, sure, I can think of a few possibilities. But whoever it is, they won’t be competing at SkCAN this year.

USA Alert: Marissa Castelli/Marvin Tran will make their GP debut here. Castelli used to pair with Simon Shnapir; Tran is a veteran Canadian pairs skater who won Worlds bronze representing Japan... then represented Canada for a year... and now reps the U.S. but is competing in Canada. For the United States. Got all that?


CONTENDERS: Patrick Chan, Nam Nguyen, Yuzuru Hanyu, Daisuke Murakami, Alexander Petrov, Adam Rippon

GOLD: Hanyu
BRONZE: Rippon

It’s the headliner! The great re-match! The Thrilla in... Alberta? Whatever you call it, Chan vs. Hanyu starts all over again here at SkCAN, and it’s what everyone wants to talk about... with good reason. Hanyu’s healthy again after a rough 2014-15 season. Chan’s back after taking a year off to reflect on life post-Sochi Silver. Who will prevail? Who???

Here’s what I know: I can’t recall the last time I saw Hanyu skate a clean FS (though he often wins anyway). I don’t recall SkCAN going balls-to-the-wall fantastic for Chan in any particular circumstance (though he’s won this event four times). Both would get outrageous component scores even if they just stood on the ice reading the side of a box of Apple Jacks. BUT... Hanyu’s training 2 quads, and Chan’s only training one. Advantage Hanyu? We shall see.

This is a tough one to predict for bronze too. I had Nguyen in there until I saw his unusually rough FS at the Autumn Classic a few weeks ago (though he still managed silver behind Hanyu). As young as he is, and as fresh as THAT is... well, that’s part of why I decided to go with Rippon. It’s also because Rippon’s Beatle-icious FS is really, really good. (So is his Queen SP—we’ll have to see what happens with his quad lutz, though.)

USA Alert: Timothy Dolensky (who finished 14th at Nationals) is Rippon’s teammate at this event; he replaces Joshua Farris, who was sidelined with a concussion.

What do YOU think about Hanyu vs. Chan... or any other aspect of this event?

If you’re watching online, follow me at @KLBSt8ofSk8... or follow the event in general at #SCI15

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