Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 Skate Canada: Ice Dance Preview

Saying that this Ice Dance field is crowded is an understatement. 3 of these 8 teams were top 5 at 2011 Worlds and the rest are World Class as well. While Gold is pretty much locked up, we'll see a heated battle for Silver & Bronze as well as the right to place in the top 5. The dancers take the ice for their short dance Friday October 28th at 9:10 pm EST and Sunday October 30th at 12:30 pm for their free dance.
This might as well be an exhibition for Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN) because they have no competition. They are in a class of their own and this event on home ice will be their coming out party. They already stomped the field at Finlandia Trophy and won't have a real challenge until the Grand Prix Final, but oh what a joy just to watch them skate. Making their season's debut, Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN) are a medal favorite after ending 2010-2011 with a bang, finishing 5th at Worlds. Training with Pechalat & Bourzat, who have withdrawn from this event, will push them to up their game, and they have the potential to pass them this season, but either way those two should battle all year. Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko (RUS) spent 2010-2011 as the 3rd team in Russia and didn't make the Worlds team, but now that Russia has 3 slots, their season is wide open. I really like their style and they are a fringe team that could capitalize on a mistake by a top tier team and snag a medal as they did last season on the Grand Prix. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) are are a team that needs a lot of individual attention in order to make a leap in the rankings and I fear they won't get that from the overcommitted Morozov. They always put together nice programs and had a good showing at Worlds. They are now a medal threat after the withdrawal of the French. Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA) are a new team and though they made a solid debut at Finlandia Trophy, they have a lot of work to do if they hope to make Worlds this season and they won't be as focused on a medal here as they will be on getting feedback from judges and improving their levels and scores. Ekaterina Pushkash & Jonathan Guerreiro (RUS) are making their senior debut after winning Silver at the 2011 Junior Worlds and it will be great to see how they transition their style to the senior ranks. Tarrah Harvey & Keith Gagnon (CAN) are a host pick making their Grand Prix debut.

My Podium Predictions:
1) Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN)
2) Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN)
3) Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko (RUS

Competitive History:

Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA)-8th 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Mont Blanc Trophy, 5th 2010 NHK Trophy, 2nd 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 153.77 at 2011 Worlds

Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA)-3rd 2011 Finlandia Trophy; PB: 136.88 at 2011 Finlandia Trophy

Tarrah Harvey & Keith Gagnon (CAN)-8th 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 9th 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy, 5th 2008 JGP Belarus

Ekaterina Pushhkash & Jonathan Guerreiro (RUS)-2nd 2011 World Juniors, 4th 2010 JGP Final, 1st 2010 JGP Czech, 2nd 2010 JGP Japan; PB: 136.80 at 2010 JGP Czech

Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko (RUS)-6th 2011 Europeans, 2nd 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 5th 2010 Skate America, 3rd 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 146.79 at 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN)-1st 2011 Finlandia Trophy, 2nd 2011 Worlds, 1st 2010 Worlds, 1st 2010 Winter Olympics; PB: 181.79 at 2011 Worlds

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN)-5th 2011 Worlds, 4th 2011 Four Continents, 4th 2010 Grand Prix Final, 4th 2010 Skate America, 2nd 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 160.32 at 2011 Worlds

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