Canadian Nationals: Dance Preview

Canada has 3 spots at 4 Continents and 3 spots at the World Championships.

NOTE: Virtue and Moir announced on January 17th that they will not compete at nationals.  They still plan to compete at Four Continents and Worlds.
If Virtue and Moir do decide to compete, I don’t think they’ll have any problem taking gold here.  Crone and Poirier haven’t been able to come close to Davis and White’s scores and Virtue/Moir had a 40 point lead over Crone/Poirier at nationals last season.  I don’t expect the gap to be that big this year, but even out of shape I think they’ll win.  They are very genuine in their performances and their program components alone should keep them ahead.

I’m not crazy about Crone/Poiriers short dance but they’ve been receiving acclaim for their free dance this season.  They won two Grand Prix medals and won a medal at the Grand Prix Final for the first time.  There will be a battle for the silver medal, but I think they have the edge based on their results this season.

Weaver and Poje are one of my favorite teams and I adore their short dance.  There seems to be something off about their free dance and while it’s entertaining, it doesn’t seem to suit them as well as their elegant short dance.  I think they can pull off the upset and beat Crone and Poirier if they’ve worked on their free dance.  I think they’re also hungry to pull off the upset, having lost out on going to the Olympics by only .30 last season.

Ralph/Hill and Paul/Islam will likely battle it out for 4th place.  Ralph and Hill have some decent programs but still come off a bit junior.  I think the edge goes to Paul and Islam.  They’ve been called Virtue and Moir 2.0 and their free dance is enchanting.  While I like their short dance, the judges don’t seem to and they had a disastrous outing at their second Grand Prix and had to withdraw due to injury.  If they’re back to top form, they should finish 4th here.

The teams:

Dupont/Connolly: They qualified with a 4th place finish at Challenge.

Letourneau/Boczar: They qualified with a 3rd place finish at Challenge.  They finished 13th at nationals last season.

Bissonnette/Chatham: They qualified with a 5th place finish at Challenge.

Harvey/Gagnon: They finished 5th in their last international assignment at JGP Golden Lynx 2008.  They qualified with a 2nd place finish at Challenge.  They finished 6th at nationals last season.

Arrotta/Nickel: They finished 4th as juniors at nationals last season.

Paul/Islam: They are the reigning World Junior silver medalists.  They finished 4th at Skate Canada and withdrew from Cup of Russia.  They are the reigning junior national champions.

Arnold/Trojek: They finished 7th at Skate Canada.  They finished 10th at nationals last season.

Ralph/Hill: Ralph and Hill placed 6th at the Four Continents Championships.  They finished 7th at Cup of China and 6th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They are the 2008 junior national champions.  They qualified with a 1st place finish at Challenge.  Their best finish at nationals was last season when they placed 4th.

Weaver/Poje: Weaver and Poje are the reigning Four Continents champions.  They are the 2007 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  They finished 5th at the Grand Prix Final after winning silver at NHK Trophy and finishing 4th at Skate America.  They are the 2007, 2009 and 2010 national bronze medalists and 2008 national silver medalists.

Crone/Poirier: They finished 14th at the Olympics and 7th at the World Championships.  They won bronze at the Grand Prix Final after winning gold at Skate Canada and silver at Skate America.  They are the 2007 junior national champions.  They are the 2009 and 2010 national silver medalists.

Virtue/Moir: Virtue and Moir are the reigning Olympic and World Champions.  They sat out the Grand Prix season due to injury.  They are the 2006 World Junior Champions.  They are the 2006 and 2007 Four Continents Bronze medalists, 2009 silver medalists, and 2008 champions.  They are the 2009 World Bronze medalists and 2008 silver medalists.  They are the 2004 national junior champions, 2006 national bronze medalists and 2007 national silver medalists.  They are competing for their 4th consecutive national title.