Skate Canada Men’s Preview

Despite his poor performance at the Japan Open, this is still Patrick Chan’s event to lose.  He was unstoppable last season even when he didn’t skate clean.  He called his performance at the Japan Open a wake-up call after he fell four times in his free skate.  He changed coaches and choreographers in the off season and it’s clear he’s still settling into his new regimen.  He started slow last year as well so I wouldn’t expect his programs to be perfect but expect to see a quad in both programs and PCS scores through the roof.

Javier Fernandez had a break-out season last year on the Grand Prix but stalled toward the end of the season and did not meet his own expectations.  He’s training alongside young phenom Yuzuru Hanyu which should help improve his competitive mindset.  He also has consistent quads and good PCS capabilities and has proven that he can beat Chan.

Nobunari Oda suffered through a disastrous free skate on the Grand Prix and missed the entire rest of the season.  He kicked off his season with a gold medal at Nebelhorn Trophy showing that he’s fully recovered from his injury and is ready to compete with the best.

Artur Gachinski is trying to mount a comeback after an up and down season last year.  After winning the bronze medal at Worlds in 2011 he failed to win a medal on the Grand Prix.  He went on to win silver at Europeans behind country mate Evgeny Plushenko but dropped to 18th place at Worlds.  He is all over the place in terms of performance and could land anywhere in the standings.

Florent Amodio had his best ever finish at Worlds last year, finishing 5th.  He was disappointing in both of his Grand Prix assignments last season and will need more consistent jumps in order to challenge the top men here.

Although he finished with a bronze medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Classic, don’t count Ross Miner out of this race.  He has shown the ability to perform under pressure and won the bronze last season at Four Continents.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Javier Fernandez
Bronze: Nobunari Oda

Bios of the competitors:
Elladj Balde, CAN: He placed 10th at Skate Canada last season.  His personal best is 184.89.  He is 21 years old.

Patrick Chan, CAN: He is the reigning World Champion and Four Continents Champion.  He won gold at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won gold.  He is the 2011 World Champion, 2009 and 2010 World silver medalist, 2009 Four Continents Champion and 2007 World Junior silver medalist.  His personal best is 280.98.  He is 21 years old.

Liam Firus, CAN: He finished 8th at Junior Worlds.  He won bronze at JGP Australia and placed 11th at JGP Austria last season.  His personal best is 189.06.  He is 20 years old.

Florent Amodio, FRA: He placed 5th at Worlds and is the the reigning European Bronze Medalist.  He finished 9th at Skate America and 5th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  He is the 2011 European Champion.  His personal best is 243.03.  He is 22 years old.

Takahito Mura, JPN: He placed 5th at Four Continents.  His personal best is 217.16.  He is 21 years old.

Nobunari Oda, JPN: He won silver at Cup of China and finished 7th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  He is the 2006 Four Continents Champion and 2005 Junior World Champion.  His personal best is 244.56.  He is 25 years old.

Denis Ten, KAZ: He finished 7th at Worlds, 6th at Four Continents and 4th at Junior Worlds.  He placed 5th at Skate America and Skate Canada last season.  His personal best is 229.70.  He is 19 years old.

Artur Gachinski, RUS: He finished 18th at Worlds and is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  He placed 5th at Cup of China and Rostelecom Cup last season.  He is the 2011 World Bronze Medalist and 2010 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 246.27.  He is 19 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP: He finished 9th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  He won silver at Skate Canada and Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won bronze.  His personal best is 250.33.  He is 21 years old.

Ross Miner, USA: He is the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  He placed 6th at Skate Canada and won bronze at NHK Trophy last season.  His personal best is 223.23.  He is 21 years old.