2014 Rostelecom Cup Men’s Preview

Javier Fernandez did not meet expectations at Skate Canada and had to settle for the silver medal.  He had several issues in his free skate, including not hitting his planned third quad and seemed to just run out of steam at the end of the program.  His short program to Black Betty including lyrics is a great vehicle for him and really gets the crowd involved.  With his silver medal at Skate Canada, he needs a gold or silver medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

Jason Brown exceeded expectations in taking home the silver medal from Skate America.  He skated a bit conservatively in his programs, but did manage to skate relatively clean while showcasing his spins and steps.  The triple axel looked good even if he does stalk it a bit and there are still no quads in his programs so he has to skate clean and rack up the GOE and PCS points.  With his silver medal, he needs a gold or silver medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

If Brown and Fernandez win silver, there is a chance that 7 skaters could end up with 26 points or more.  There would be a tiebreaker for the last spot and the tie would be broken by total points earned in the series.  If Hanyu is injured and cannot compete at NHK Trophy, this possibility is removed and 26 points with two silvers would be enough by itself to qualify.

Max Aaron put together a bronze medal finish at Skate Canada after placing 5th in the short program.  His quads were on full display and the Gladiator music seemed to fit his personality and style of skating well.  His artistic side continues to improve but it still no where near that of Jason Brown so he has to hit his jumps to stay competitive.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

Stephen Carriere finished just a tenth of a point off the podium at Skate Canada and set personal best scores in all segments of the competition.  While I didn’t particularly like the choice of music for his free skate, jumping from Clare de Lune to a contemporary piece with lyrics without a real story or transition evident, he skated effectively to his music and hit his jumps.  He can stay in the Grand Prix Final hunt with a gold medal here.

Sergei Voronov is starting his season at Rostelecom Cup and will compete next at NHK Trophy.  He won the silver medal at Europeans last season after a slow start to his season.  He has great jumps and quads but not much else going for him in his programs which has contributed to his hit or miss performances.  If the jumps are on he can place very well, but once they start unraveling there isn’t much else to hold the program up.  If he can take home a medal here, he has a chance to earn a spot in the Final later this month.


My podium predictions:

Gold: Javier Fernandez

Silver: Jason Brown

Bronze: Max Aaron


Bios of the competitors:

Jeremy Ten, CAN: He placed 9th at Four Continents.  His personal best is 212.64.  He is 25 years old.

Michal Brezina, CZE: He placed 10th at the Olympics and 4th at Europeans.   He placed 7th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2013 European Bronze Medalist and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 243.52.  He is 24 years old.

Ivan Righini, ITA: He placed 13th at Worlds.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 213.09.  He is 23 years old.

Takahiko Kozuka, JPN: He placed 6th at Worlds and is the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalist.  He placed 8th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2011 World Championships Silver Medalist, 2009 Four Continents Bronze Medalist and 2006 World Junior Champion.  Her personal best is 258.41.  He is 25 years old.

Artur Gachinski, RUS: He placed 9th at Skate America.  He is the 2010 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 246.27.  He is 21 years old.

Moris Kvitelashvili, RUS: He placed 4th at JGP Slovakia and won bronze at JGP Czech Republic last season.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 201.14.  He is 19 years old.

Sergei Voronov, RUS: He is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  He placed 9th at NHK Trophy last season.  His personal best is 252.55.  He is 27 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP: He finished 4th at the Olympics and is the reigning World Bronze Medalist and European Champion.  He won silver at Skate Canada.  He is the 2013 World Bronze Medalist and 2013 European Champion.  His personal best is 275.93.  He is 23 years old.

Max Aaron, USA: He finished 8th at Worlds.  He won bronze at Skate Canada.  His personal best is 240.22.  He is 22 years old.

Jason Brown, USA: He finished 9th at the Olympics.  He won silver at Skate America.  He is the 2013 World Junior Silver Medalist and 2012 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 243.09.  He is 19 years old.

Stephen Carriere, USA: He placed 4th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2007 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 231.67.  He is 25 years old.

Misha Ge, UZB: He placed 17th at the Olympics, 27th at Worlds and 13th at Four Continents.  He placed 5th at Cup of China.  His personal best is 219.28.  He is 23 years old.