Saturday, October 26, 2013

A New Beginning

Today is Ice Musings third birthday.  When I first started this blog before Skate Canada in 2011 I was merely looking to jot down some of my thoughts throughout the season as a reference for myself, but this site has become so much more to me over the years.

I've been able to share in so many of your skating journeys and enjoy the dialogue back and forth as we sit up in the middle of the night watching skating events overseas and trying to keep the passion for the sport alive.  I've met incredible people who do more in a single day than I can even imagine at such a young age and keep coming back for more.  I've come to know the sport I've loved since childhood inside and out and have a much deeper appreciation for the intricacies that go into it.

I'm so thankful for all the readers I've had over the past three years.  There have been times when I wondered if it was all worth it to get up early to catch an event or stay up late to squeeze in a post.  Luckily, this is such a wonderful community to belong to and I've received the most kind and inspiring comments and that keeps me posting all through a long season.

Coming full circle, I'm happy to announce that starting with today's Skate Canada events, Ice Musings is moving to a new home:  My redesigned site is more user friendly and will allow you to access your favorite events easier than ever before.  All of my previous content will remain here but has also been moved over to it's new home.  Check it out and don't forget to let me know what you think!  I can be reached via Twitter and Facebook or you can email me at

Happy Reading!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Skate Canada Men's Short Program

Group 1
Elladj Balde, CAN: 40.71 TES+ 31.64 PCS = 72.35
  • Hand down on the opening quad toe but he manages to tack on the double toe
  • Nice big triple axel nicely timed with the music
  • Good position in the camel spin with a decent catch foot position, but I'd like to see his hip closed a bit more after the change of foot
  • Triple lutz
  • Good sit spin position with nice speed through the twisted variation
  • Nice flow through his step sequence and great feeling for his music; he seems a bit too upright in the upper body though and some of the edge changes are not clean
  • Twisted camel spin into a sit spin ending with a scratch spin
Andrei Rogozine, CAN: 37.20 TES+ 31.11 PCS = 68.31 and into 2nd place
  • Nice triple flip + triple toe
  • Spread eagle triple axel well done
  • Good flexibility through the camel spin catch foot positions and nice fast rotation
  • Triple lutz
  • Low sit spin position with a nice twisted position after the change of foot but losing speed
  • He seems to be skating through his music a bit and looking down and not really connecting with the audience but this might be the best he's jumped in a long time
  • Very upright in the step sequence, slow in places and lots of ice spray 
Nobunari Oda, JPN: 43.61 TES+ 38.21 PCS -1.00 = 80.82 and into 1st place
  • Big quad toe and just couldn't hang on to the landing
  • Nice triple axel and he has such impressive bend in his knees on that landing
  • Great camel spin position with a nice twisted variation into a good catch foot
  • Great triple lutz + triple toe
  • Good speed through the beginning of the sit spin combination but loses it after the flying change of position
  • He's really starting to perform in this step sequence; nice freedom through the whole body and lots of changes of edge and direction with minimal ice spray
  • Came spin into a good twisted sit spin with nice speed and needing in a scratch spin
  • Overall a pretty good program with the exception of the fall on the quad
Jeremy Abbott, USA: 35.30 TES+ 39.28 PCS = 74.58 and into 2nd place
  • Beautiful quad toe
  • Double lutz close to the boards and has to ride it out a bit + double toe
  • Interesting that he goes for an upright spin here--pretty unusual to be done outside of a combination
  • Big triple axel and he has to put a hand down
  • Great stretched out position in the sit spin with nice speed but losing it after the back tuck position
  • Twisted camel position into a sit spin and a flying change of leg
  • Nice movement in his step sequence and great use of his full body; good one foot sections and great ice coverage
Joshua Farris, USA: 33.11 TES+ 36.03 PCS = 69.14 and is currently in 4th place
  • Triple toe + single toe
  • Triple axel out of footwork a little down on one side on the landing but hangs on
  • Such nice stretch and toe point in the sit spin with a great arm variation on the change of position
  • Solid triple lutz
  • Losing his centering on the catch foot camel spin but much better position after the change of leg
  • Great choreography in his step sequence with a lot of nuances--you almost don't notice it as an element it blends so well into the program
  • He seemed a bit nervous today in his debut but lots of great things to work with

Group 2
Takahito Mura, JPN: 38.56 TES+ 34.52 PCS = 73.08 and into 3rd place
  • Quad toe fall out
  • Big triple axel nicely timed with the music
  • Decent camel position into an upright spin and ending with a sit spin
  • A couple of standing dance moves seem to be mostly there for show with not a lot of commitment behind them
  • Triple lutz + triple toe
  • He's got the jumps it would be a nice to see a bit more in his program
  • Ok camel spin positions with speed maintained throughout
  • Lots of ice spray in his step sequence and he seems to be skating through the music a bit
  • Flying entry to the sit spin and he needs more stretch through his free leg
Ross Miner, USA: 32.15 TES+ 36.56 PCS -2.00 = 66.71 and into 7th place
  • The opening to this program is just gorgeous and it also happens to be his step sequence; great one foot sections and nice connection with the music
  • Quad toe two foots the landing and falls
  • Triple axel doesn't get quite around two foots the landing and falls
  • Nice speed in his camel spin with a good flying change and a decent catch foot position
  • Triple lutz + triple toe a little tight be he pulled it off
  • Good sit spin with nice positions and good speed
  • Nice camel into a broken leg sit spin and ending with a scratch spin
  • Once he nails the jumps in this program it's going to be a huge hit and
Michal Brezina, CZE: 35.06 TES+ 36.65 PCS = 71.71 and into 5th place
  • Doubled his opening quad salchow attempt
  • Triple flip + triple toe
  • Triple axel just a bit forward on the toe on the landing but he hangs on
  • Twisted camel spin position with a change of foot and a decent catch foot position
  • Flying sit spin needs more stretch through his free leg but maintained speed through the back tuck position
  • Lots of movement through the step sequence but I'd like to see him do something more with his hands and arms; good flow across the ice
  • Camel spin flying change to sit spin; slow through the whole middle of the spin and ending way after his music
Patrick Chan, CAN: 43.17 TES+ 44.93 PCS = 88.10 and into 1st place
  • Huge triple toe + triple toe a little too close to the boards and has to put his free leg down to hang on to the 2nd jump
  • Big triple axel with nice ride out and speed on the landing
  • Good camel spin with a nice change of foot into a twisted position
  • Triple lutz well done right on the music
  • Great twisted sit position into a broken leg
  • This program is so well put together and expertly executed by Chan
  • I love how quiet the music gets in the step sequence so you can hear his blades across the ice
  • Gorgeous step sequence with such ease in the transitions between steps
  • Final combination spin with good speed and positions
Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN: 39.69 TES+ 40.71 PCS = 80.40 and into 3rd place
  •  Quad toe so far forward on the landing that he almost did an illusion but avoided putting the hand down
  • Nice flexibility in the donut spin variation
  • Good twisted sit position into a nice broken leg variation and ending with a back tuck with speed maintained throughout
  • Really difficult entry with turns on one foot into the triple axel and he drills it
  • Popped lutz + triple toe--just looked like he got ahead of himself and rushed the entry
  • Great steps in his sequence and really playing to the crowd and feeling his music
  • Great camel position picking up a bit of speed through the sit variations but losing it after the flying change of position
Pl.  NameNationTSS
1Patrick CHANCAN88.1043.1744.939.048.898.829.119.070.00#9
2Nobunari ODAJPN80.8243.6138.217.827.187.717.687.821.00#3
3Yuzuru HANYUJPN80.4039.6940.718.297.967.968.298.210.00#10
4Jeremy ABBOTTUSA74.5835.3039.288.007.757.468.078.000.00#4
5Takahito MURAJPN73.0838.5634.527.396.646.896.896.710.00#6
6Elladj BALDECAN72.3540.7131.646.255.966.576.296.570.00#1
7Michal BREZINACZE71.7135.0636.657.547.047.327.437.320.00#8
8Joshua FARRISUSA69.1433.1136.
9Andrei ROGOZINECAN68.3137.2031.116.436.116.146.326.110.00#2
10Ross MINERUSA66.7132.1536.567.327.326.897.647.392.00#7

Skate Canada Ladies Short Program Results

Pl.  NameNationTSS
1Gracie GOLDUSA69.4538.53 30.927.617.547.797.827.890.00#7
2Julia LIPNITSKAIARUS66.8937.95 28.947.256.967.327.437.210.00#8
3Akiko SUZUKIJPN65.7633.19 32.578.257.868.
4Christina GAOUSA62.8233.96 28.867.
5Kaetlyn OSMONDCAN60.3232.49 28.837.
6Amelie LACOSTECAN59.1332.10 27.036.796.366.936.826.890.00#5
7Natalia POPOVAUKR52.3627.96 24.406.145.826.
8Veronik MALLETCAN50.7127.31 24.406.215.896.
9Courtney HICKSUSA50.7026.67

Skate Canada Pairs Short Program Results

Pl.  NameNationTSS
1Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORDCAN69.5737.61 31.968.147.967.938.007.930.00#8
2Stefania BERTON / Ondrej HOTAREKITA69.3839.46 29.927.437.257.617.577.540.00#7
3Wenjing SUI / Cong HANCHN69.0239.46 29.567.437.147.467.547.390.00#3
4Mari VARTMANN / Aaron VAN CLEAVEGER55.0830.79 25.296.506.186.366.296.291.00#5
5Haven DENNEY / Brandon FRAZIERUSA55.0131.47 24.546.145.936.
6Paige LAWRENCE / Rudi SWIEGERSCAN52.9427.36 26.586.756.576.506.616.791.00#6
7Lindsay DAVIS / Rockne BRUBAKERUSA52.6928.47
8Margaret PURDY / Michael MARINAROCAN39.5018.64 21.865.825.295.215.615.391.00#4

Skate Canada Short Dance

Group 1
Paul/Islam, CAN: 26.17 TES+ 27.57 PCS = 53.74
  • Nice arm positions and ease in their twizzles with good unison but I would like to see them a bit closer together
  • Great speed and flow through the non touching step sequence with good unison and extension through their free legs
  • They have great flow and speed in the Finnstep but you can see that they're concentrating and have lost the performance a bit here; a bit bouncy toward the end section
  • Nice split rotational lift with her jumping up into the entry
  • Very solid program from them and it suits their style very well
Guignard/Fabbri, ITA: 25.92 TES+ 28.11 PCS -2.00 = 52.03 and into 2nd place
  • I'm not sure I'm getting the Cabaret music with the roaring 20s themed program
  • Very far apart on the twizzles but decent unison
  • They have a lot of speed but not a lot of edge work 
  • Some of the steps in the Finnstep seem more labored and the arm changes are a lot less secure; not a lot of use of the free arm and really on top of their edges in a lot of places
  • If they were going to go with a Fosse program I'd love to see them in a more true to theme costume
  • Really neat lift with her doing a half twist flip but the changes of position were messy and she could stretch through her legs more and get better lines
  • Very bobbly on the non touching step sequence and they seem to get closer and closer throughout
Stepanova/Bukin, RUS: 27.66 TES+ 27.97 PCS = 55.63 and into 1st place
  • Her costume is very simple but I really like it and it stands out from the pack--solid blue color with cut out sides and rhinestones along the edges of the cutout
  • Starting with their Finnstep, they seem to not be very secure in all the holds and at one point he holds her wrists instead of her hands; on top of their edges but good stretch through their free legs
  • Great timing on their twizzles with the music and nice unison with each other
  • Great changes of edges and one foot sequences in their non touching step sequence with lots of arms and great matching leg lines
  • Cartwheel around to a spread eagle lift with her in a haircutter position
  • Decent program for them in their debut 
Hubbell/Donohue, USA: 32.50 TES+ 29.42 PCS -1.00 = 60.92 and into 1st place
  • Lots of speed going into their Finnstep and a great ease in their upper bodies and heads showing they are comfortable in their holds
  • A little bit of ice spray on some of the edge changes in the Finnstep but overall it looked pretty good on the edges
  • Nice twizzles but she seemed a hair faster than him on the 2nd set
  • Flip up and toss into a catch position
  • Lots of speed and flow in the non touching; deep edges and very good knees from him but she seems a bit stiff in places and had a very minor bobble or two
  • He takes a fall getting into the ending pose, he got caught on her blade coming out of a lift--not on an element so it won't cost them anything but the 1 point deduction
  • Overall it seemed like a bit more work than it did last week but some elements did look better as well

Group 2
Riazanova/Tkachenko, RUS: 31.17 TES+ 29.62 PCS -1.00 = 59.79 and into 2nd place
  • Great back edge entry to their twizzles but I'd like to see them skate them a bit closer together
  • Nice flow and changes of edge in their non touching step sequence with great feel for the music and a nice twisted turn done at center ice
  • Great flow through the Finnstep with clean edge changes and nice changes of hold and very well timed with the music
  • Toss up to a rotational lift but a sloppy ending
  • Overall I liked how this program was put together but there were a few sloppy music cuts at the end which distracted from the ending of the program
Zhiganshina/Gazsi, GER: 26.58 TES+ 29.33 PCS = 55.91 and into 3rd place
  • Twizzles were a little bobbly and he seemed off balance at the end; they were also very far apart and had to change to a wider camera angle
  • Really off in their unison on the non touching step sequence and every arm and leg seems to be off
  • I'd like to see her get the free leg out more in some of these turns; they seem very hesitant in the Finnstep but it's timed very well with their music; she also has some hunched over positions in some of the steps and could have better posture throughout the sequence
  • Haircutter rotational lift
Weaver/Poje, CAN: 35.91 TES+ 34.44 PCS = 70.35 and into 1st place
  • I love their tap steps timed with the tap in the music
  • Good distance between them on the twizzles and very well timed
  • Nice use of their free legs and arms in the opening section of the Finnstep; a few ice sprays so they could clean up the edge changes a bit more
  • Nice distance between them and good unison during the non touching step sequence with good quick changes of edge and direction at the end
  • Really nice lift with her swinging around his body several times in different directions
Virtue/Moir, CAN:  35.34 TES+ 37.81 PCS = 73.15 and into 1st place
  • Great choreography in their non touching step sequence starting with them criss crossing and looking at each other; slight loss of unison on the last attitude turn at the end
  • Great ease in their Finnstep and nice speed and flow across the ice; both do a great job of extending through their free legs; I don't feel this goes as well with their music as some of the other programs we've seen but it's executed very well
  • Very close together on the twizzles but they lose unison a few times and they seem a little bit sloppy for them
  • Great lift with several twists and flips and interesting positions
Pl.  NameNationTSS
1Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIRCAN73.1535.3437.819.339.469.429.509.540.00#8
2Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJECAN70.3535.9134.448.548.508.588.678.710.00#7
3Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUEUSA60.9232.5029.427.297.177.337.427.501.00#4
4Ekaterina RIAZANOVA / Ilia TKACHENKORUS59.7931.1729.627.507.217.467.467.381.00#5
5Nelli ZHIGANSHINA / Alexander GAZSIGER55.9126.5829.337.297.137.427.427.380.00#6
6Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKINRUS55.6327.6627.977.176.967.006.886.960.00#3
7Alexandra PAUL / Mitchell ISLAMCAN53.7426.1727.576.926.757.006.966.830.00#1
8Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRIITA52.0325.9228.116.966.887.177.176.962.00#2

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Skate Canada Dance Preview

Virtue and Moir are virtually assured of another Skate Canada title here but their real goal is to defend their Olympic title.  They started off the season with a win at Finlandia Trophy however their score was nearly 20 points lower than they scored at Worlds last year.  Considering how strong Davis and White have been at their first two events this season, they'll need to show significant improvement to hold pace.  After their Carmen diversion last year, they've returned to the elegant style that took them to the top of their sport.

Weaver and Poje suffered an unfortunate training accident last year but were able to recover in time to make it to the World Championships.  They finished 5th with a good performance but still not at their 100% best and are ready to make a run at the podium.

Riazanova and Tkachenko tend to fly under the radar as the third place Russian team but they do have a very nice style on the ice and strong results to back it up.  They have a classic style and nice lines but have yet to put out a memorable program that separates them from the pack.

Hubbell and Donohue started their season with a 4th place finish at Skate America last week setting personal bests in all segments of the competition.  They're determined to find a place on the Olympic team and were only two points behind the Shibutanis at Skate America.  They've shown improvement from Nebelhorn to Skate America and since the competition was in their backyard, they've had time to train and make adjustments before this event.

World Junior Champions Stepanova and Bukin are making their Grand Prix debut at this event after sweeping the junior circuit last season.  They have two Junior World medals and will be looking to challenge Riazanova and Tkachenko.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Virtue/Moir
Silver: Weaver/Poje
Bronze: Hubbell/Donohue

Bios of the competitors:
Paul/Islam, CAN: They are the 2010 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 141.99.  She is 22 and he is 23.

Virtue/Moir, CAN: They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and and Four Continents Silver Medalists.   They won gold at Skate Canada and gold at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won silver.  They are the 2010 Olympic Gold Medalists, 2010 and 2012 World Champions, 2008 and 2011 World Silver Medalists, 2009 World Bronze Medalists, 2008 and 2012 Four Continents Champions, 2009 Four Continents Silver Medalists, 2006 and 2007 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, 2006 World Junior Champions and 2005 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 185.04.  She is 24 and he is 26.

Weaver/Poje, CAN: They finished 5th at Worlds.  They won bronze at Skate America and Cup of China last season.  They are the 2010 Four Continents Champions, 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, and 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 166.55.  She is 24 and he is 26.  

Zhiganshina/Gazsi, GER: They finished 10th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  They placed 5th at Skate America and 5th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 154.27.  She is 26 and he is 29.

Guignard/Fabbri: ITA: They placed 17th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  They finished 5th at Cup of China last season.  Their personal best is 142.48.  She is 24 and he is 25.

Riazanova/Tkachenko, RUS: They finished 11th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  They won bronze at Skate Canada and bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Their personal best is 157.77.  She is 22 and he is 27.

Stepanova/Bukin, RUS: They are the reigning World Junior Champions.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  They won gold at JGP Istanbul and gold at JGP Germany last season to qualify for the JGP Final where they won gold.  They are the 2012 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 150.17.  She is 18 and he is 20.

Hubbell/Donohue, USA: They placed 4th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 152.98.  She is 22 and he is 22.

Skate Canada Pairs Preview

Duhamel and Radford won their first World medal last year and many thought they should have beat Savchenko and Szolkowy to claim the silver.  This is their fourth season together and they have steadily been climbing the ranks and crossed the 200 point threshold last season.  They are skating their short program to an original composition put together by Radford and is promises to be a very emotional piece.  They also have some of the most difficult technical content in the pairs world especially in their side by side jumps.

Berton and Hotarek finished 5th at Skate America last week but in this younger and weaker field they have the chance to make the medal podium here.

Davis and Brubaker are a new team this season and after a disappointing finish at 2010 Nationals and a string of partnerships that didn't work out, Brubaker is more determined than ever to make the Sochi team.  They still have a lot of work to do and limited time but starting with a medal here would be a good start.

Sui and Han spent almost all of last season sitting out due to injury and couldn't quite regain their previous form at last year's Worlds.  They finished just 12th, nearly 40 points below their personal best.  They've long been known for their big tricks and infectious personality on the ice but at 18 and 21 they'll need a new tact and more grown up programs to compete with the best.  

Lawrence and Swiegers just missed the podium at both of their Grand Prix events last season and are hunting their first Grand Prix medal since 2010.  After several years of international competition, Vartmann and Van Cleave are making their Grand Prix debut and will be hunting their first medal as well.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Duhamel/Radford
Silver: Berton/Hotarek
Bronze: Sui/Han

Bios of the competitors:
Duhamel/Radford, CAN: They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and Four Continents Champions.  They won silver at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 4th.  They are the 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 204.56.  She is 27 and he is 28.

Lawrence/Swiegers, CAN: They finished 6th at Four Continents.  They placed 4th at Skate Canada and 4th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  They are the 2011 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 162.30.  She is 23 and he is 26.

Purdy/Marinaro, CAN: They are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  They finished 8th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 154.70.  She is 18 and he is 21.  

Sui/Han, CHN: They placed 12th at Worlds.  They are the 2012 Four Continents Champions and the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Junior Worlds Champions.  Their personal best is 201.83.  She is 18 and he is 21.

Vartmann/Van Cleave, GER: They placed 16th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 162.81.  She is 24 and he is 26.

Berton/Hotarek, ITA: They finished 10th at Worlds and are the reigning European Bronze Medalists.  They placed 5th at Skate America.  Their personal best is 187.45.  She is 23 and he is 29.

Davis/Brubaker, USA: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 156.91.  She is 21 and he is 27.

Denney/Frazier, USA: They are the reigning World Junior Champions.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  They placed 4th at JGP USA last season.  Their personal best is 155.83.  She is 17 and he is 20.