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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2011 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating: NHK Trophy Men's Short Program Commentary

1) Armin Mahbanoozadeh (USA)
    Music: Kashmir
  • I'm praying for a much improved skate for him over what he did at Skate America
  • Very aggressive start to the program
  • Triple axel looked great in the air, landed it a little low and had to step out
  • I like his donut spin, but the hand movements are a bit excessive for my taste
  • That split jump really needs much more height and stretch if he is going to do it
  • He is looking a little flaily and wild in this footwork
  • He seems unsettled on the ice this season whereas last year he looked so calm and polished
SP Score: 33.60 (TES) + 29.92 (PCS) = 63.52

2) Konstantin Menshov (RUS)
     Music: Dead Silence, Worms Lounge, Worms in Black
  • Well that was a gigantic triple axel, and the height and speed were Plushenko-esque
  • He is cat-like in his ability to find his feet on jumps that look atrocious in the air, Plushenko and Gachinski have the same gift
  • I have no idea what this crazy music is
  • That ugly flexed foot in the sit spin is driving me crazy, on all the spins for that matter
  • That was a very abrupt ending
  • What is with the fetus on his costume?
SP Score: 42.24 (TES) + 32.43 (PCS) = 74.67

3) Ross Miner (JPN)
     Music: Para Ti
  • I love the opening of this program, it's very dancey
  • Huge knee bend into that triple axel, very clean jump
  • Triple lutz-triple toe, slightly stifle on the landings
  • I love that change of edge spread eagle, goes well on the music
  • Really fought to land the triple flip, the kid is indeed a fighter
  • He looks a little rushed out there today, nothing is flowing as smoothly as it usually does for him
  • A little frantic in places, but a solid program for Ross
SP Score: 38.87 (TES) + 32.25 (PCS) = 71.12

4) Tatsuki Machida (JPN)
     Music: Dark Eyes

  • Though very popular for women, this is a different music choice for a man
  • That design work on the right hip and thigh is a very bold choice for a man, but I appreciate that he is going to that place
  • I like him a lot, he is an elegant sort of skater
  • I'm not sure how young he is, but he reminds me of a less experienced, less polished Kozuka
  • Great jumping passes, and then a stumble going into the spin, he clearly caught an edge and will lose credit for the spin, quite a shame
  • He is really attacking this footwork with a great flair, I appreciate the effort

SP Score: 38.73 (TES) + 34.53 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 72.26

5) Brandon Mroz (USA)
     Music: Mack the Knife
  • Brandon's attempts at artistry unfortunately look the same in about every program
  • Long entry into that 4lutz but what a great moment to land it in an official ISU competition
  • Really fast rotation on the triple axel, very deep landing
  • His spins look very elementary and they lack speed
  • I don't know what it is about Tom Zakrajsek's students, but they are almost all quite slow on the ice
  • Though I wouldn't call it by artistic by any stretch of the imagination, this program does suit him better than I've seen in the past of his programs
  • For a jumper, his axel and combination were a little messy, which could be a side effect of focusing so much on the 4lz
SP Score: 40.76 (TES) + 34.07 (PCS) = 74.83

6) Tomas Verner (CZE)
     Music: Carmina Burana
  • I love Tomas, but he is such an up and down skater it's hard to really invest in him
  • This is one of my favorite pieces of music, I had the pleasure of singing it with a professional choir once
  • Hand down on the 1st jump, looked unsteady over his legs
  • Wild swing out of the tirple axel
  • Traveled a few feet on the combination spin and couldn't hold on, had to bail early
  • Now we're getting into a techno version of the music, it's very strange
  • 3-2 combination, I expect it was to be a 3-3
  • He looks very unsettled out there, his legs look very shaky
  • This footwork is very slow, on wow he just face plants in the step sequence, got way to far over on the edge
SP Score: 29.10 (TES) + 34.86 (PCS) 1.00 (DED) = 62.96

7) Samuel Contesti (ITA)
     Music: Hungarian March, 1812 Overture
  • In it's second season now, this program is really wearing on me
  • I love him as a performer, but whole "miming the conductor" thing reminds me of Ryan Bradley's 2009-2011 Free Skate which I hated
  • Steps out on the combination and the triple axel, he like Verner looks shaky on his legs
  • He is such a tall skater that I presume it's much harder for him to rotate his jumps cleanly
  • He performs it well, but this just isn't a world class short program, if he changed it before Europeans & Worlds he may show much better
SP Score: 30.22 (TES) + 34.61 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 63.83

8) Takahiko Kozuka (JPN)
     Music: Inner Urge
  • Taka gets a little back pat from Sato, so cute!
  • If anybody watches gymnastics, Taka reminds me a little of World Champion Kohei Uchimura
  • He looks so much better prepared and much more confident here that at Skate America
  • I never really took notice, but Taka is a very fast skater
  • I didn't like this program at Skate America but I think it suits him really well now and is bringing out a new side of him as a performer
  • That death drop into the sit spin is one of the best in the business
  • I really love this footwork sequence, it is so quick and fits the musical nuances well
  • I hope he can make it to the Grand Prix Final as I look forward to seeing this great program again
SP Score: 40.88 (TES) + 38.89 (PCS) = 79.77

9) Daisuke Takahashi (JPN)
      Music: In the Garden of Souls
  • Here comes the headliner, a huge celebrity in Japan
  • The crowd is going crazy!
  • Such an artist, he has more emotion in one hand gesture than many skaters have in their whole program
  • Very good lift on that 3-3 combination, very quick rotation
  • This choreography is to die for, just exquisite
  • I love his bluesy free, but this would be good short program music as well
  • I love that donut position, very nice flexibility in the back
  • I love that this crowd recognizes his artistry and cheers for the great moments in the choreography, not just the jumps
  • The one flaw I saw was a slight bend at the knee in the sit spin
  • The turn out of his free leg in the spins is to die, kudos to Lambiel who revamped his spinning technique
SP Score: 46.14 (TES) + 44.29 (PCS) = 90.43

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