Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 SKATE CANADA: Mens Preview

I always like Skate Canada because for some reason I feel like they consistently get the best talent. I don't see anyone running away with this mens event like Machida did at Skate America. I think we will have a cluster of 5 at the top and 4-5 in the middle.

Podium Predictions:
Gold: Javier Fernandez (ESP)
Silver: Takahito Mura (JPN)
Bronze: Takahiko Kozuka (JPN)

Javier Fernandez (ESP) has been hyped up for the past two years, but hasn't actually lived up to the hype for most of that time. He's the Gracie Gold of mens skating if Gracie had two world medals. He's a jumper and he performs like Elvis Stojko. Brian Orser needs him to step up this season in the depleted post-Sochi field. He hasn't competed a major international since Worlds so he may have to kick the dust off the tires a bit. The mixture of the tacky as hell Black Betty and highbrow "Barber of Seville" sum up Javier perfectly.

Takahito Mura (JPN) has suffered greatly from the depth of mens figure skaters in Japan. He won the 2014 Four Continents, won the recent International Challenge Cup and placed 2nd at the Lombardia Trophy. This is going to be his season to break out.

Takahiko Kozuka (JPN) has had an up and down go of it the past few years. The 2010 Grand Prix looked like his coming out party, but he has struggled with his jumps as of late and Yuzuru Hanyu blew by him at home. Missing the Sochi team must have shredded his confidence, but he finished a respectable 6th at the 2014 Worlds and will look to reestablish himself this season. I think he could've benefitted from performing a senior B event.

The Rest of the Field:
Elladj Balde (CAN)-11th at 2014 Four Continents, 18th at 2014 Worlds, 5th at 2014 Nebelhorn Trophy
Liam Firus (CAN)-28th at 2014 Olympics, 9th at 2014 Nebelhorn Trophy
Kevin Reynolds (CAN)-15th at 2014 Olympics, 11th at 2014 Worlds, 6th at 2014 Autumn Classic
Michal Brezina (CZE)-4th at 2014 Europeans, 10th at 2014 Olympics, 2nd at 2014 Nebelhorn Trophy
Florent Amodio (FRA)-13th at 2014 Europeans, 18th at 2014 Olympics, 7th at 2014 Lombardia Trophy
Konstantin Menshov (RUS)-3rd at 2014 Europeans, 3rd at 2014, Nebelhorn Trophy
Max Aaron (USA)-8th at 2014 Worlds, 1st at 2014 US International Classic
Stephen Carriere (USA)-1st at 2014 O. Nepela
Adam Rippon (USA)-8th at 2014 Four Continents, 2nd at 2014 Finlandia Trophy

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