Friday, October 28, 2016

State of the SkCAN: 2016 Skate Canada Predictions (Ladies/Pairs)

Unlike last week at Skate America, 2016 Skate Canada will be packing all the disciplines into just two days (Friday 10/28 and Saturday 10/29)!

Again, here is an all-inclusive (for U.S., at least) viewer’s guide if you need it:

And again, the event starts with Ladies and Pairs so let me hit those first…


GOLD: Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS)
SILVER: Satoko Miyahara (JPN)
BRONZE: Mirai Nagasu (USA)

DARK HORSE: Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) or Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)

Heavy hitters, anyone? (And I’m not even talking about the men yet, so Patrick (Chan) and Yuzuru (Hanyu), please have a seat and wait until I call. Thanks.) Now, where was I?

Medvedeva is the reigning World Champ and has already followed up this season with the highest individual score among the women at Japan Open.

Miyahara is the 2015 World Silver Medalist who came in right behind Medvedeva at Japan Open and won the U.S. International Classic earlier in the season.

Nagasu is the veteran Olympian/World competitor with four GP medals who is coming off of two medal-winning events from this year’s pre-GP season (bronze at Lombardia Trophy and gold at Autumn Classic). AND… I’m liking her programs better this season than I have in years (maybe she is too?), which is why I’m picking her for bronze over others, including…

Osmond, who won this event four years ago but had a miserable time at it last year in her first GP event after a injury-forced season out. This season has started in more promising fashion, considering she won Finlandia Trophy a few weeks back. I think of her more of a Wild Card than a Dark Horse, to be honest.

And we can’t forget Tuktamysheva, who took gold over Miyahara at the 2015 Worlds but has struggled since that magical season. So far the new “year” has been hot and cold for her—a silver at Nebelhorn behind last week’s SkAM bronze medalist Mai Mihara, but down to 4th at Finlandia.

NOTE: Veronik Mallet (CAN) has scratched from SkCAN within the past few days due to injury.


GOLD: Duhamel/Radford (CAN)
SILVER: Kavaguti/Smirnov (RUS)
BRONZE: Iliusheckina/Moscovitch (CAN)


Du/Rad is 5-for-5 in terms of reaching the SkCAN podium in the past five years, and 2-for-2 in terms of winning it in the past two years. So yeah, I like my odds here. (And using Seal’s “Killer” for their SP is a stroke of genius too.)

I type up “Kava/Smir” and yes, the first thing I ask myself is just how flippin’ old is Yuko now??? (I didn’t say I was proud of it…) She’ll be 35 next month, and she’s still too busy being tougher than she looks to care. (Smirnov is 32 himself, so they’re both in Pang/Tong land at this point.) A ruptured tendon for Yuko took them out of the running for Euros and beyond last season, but (of course) she has bounced back yet again and they proved it with a silver medal at Ondrej Nepela Trophy (last week’s SkAM Bronze Medalists, Tarasova/Morozov, won gold over them).  

And Iliusheckina/Moscovitch finished 7th in their second visit to Worlds last season (besting a 13th place finish in their Worlds debut), plus they won silver at Nebelhorn Trophy in the pre-GP season behind World Bronze Medalists Savchenko/Massot. So I think the time may be right for their first GP medal together, and doing so on Canadian ice would be a nice touch as well.

However—don’t forget about Yu/Zhang. Yu-who??? you may be wondering… because if you’re anything like me, you forgot that the Chinese skating federation switched up their top pairs teams in the off-season. That means “Yu” is former of Yu/Jin, and “Zhang” is the Same Old 30-something Zhang that’s been competing GP pairs for China since about 1971*… most recently, with Peng Cheng (who I often referred to jokingly as “his niece”). How will THIS pairing go? I can’t wait to see…

P.S. Last week’s SkAM Silver Medalists Denney/Frazier are the sole U.S. pairs rep here; given the stiff competition I’ve just described, I think a top-5 finish might be the best they can muster.

MEN and DANCE predictions coming later this afternoon…!!

* Or 2002. I get things mixed up.

No comments: