Monday, November 26, 2007

Cup of Russia is in the books

Cup of Russia concluded Sunday in Moscow and the end stretch for the Grand Prix Final is in sight with only one more event next weekend in Sendai, Japan. The entries for the Grand Prix Final are starting to shape up.

In Ice Dance it was a Russian fairytale. Russians Domnina and Shabalin bested their silver medal performance in China with a win at home. They showed powerful skating to their "Masquerade Waltz" program. They also clinched a spot at the Grand Prix Final with that performance. Also clinching a spot at the final were silver medalists Pechalat and Bourzat of France. It will be a crunch for the Grand Prix Final between the two Italian teams (but it doesn't look promising for Faiella and Scali) and the Russian Team of Khoklova and Novitski to see who makes the final. Expected to qualify in Japan are Canadians Virtue and Moir and French team Delobel and Schoenfelder each with a win under their belts from their home events.

In the ladies competition Yu-Na Kim showed her cool elegance and put it on cruise control to win her second event (And conviningly! Almost 25 points!). Yukari Nakano of Japan captured the silver medal and Joannie Rochette earned another bronze medal. With that, Kim makes the final, Nakano makes the final, and it doesn't look good for Rochette (two bronzes don't look to hold up). Americas' Caroline Zhang has to wait and see what Sarah Meier of Switzerland and Carolina Kostner of Italy will do in Japan, her Grand Prix fate rests upon their shoulders. Expected to qualify in Japan is World Champ Miki Ando who is from Japan.

In pairs two of the worlds best went head to head and the Zhangs from China continued their winning streak defeating Germans Savchenko and Szolkowy. Russians Kawaguchi and Smirnov captured another bronze medal. When we do the final crunch, the Zhangs are in, Savchenko and Szolkowy are in, even Kawaguchi and Smirnov look pretty good, but it will be a battle for that final spot and it won't be easy as Szolkowy and Savchenko as well as Dube and Davison of Canada are competing in the event as non scoring competition for themselves. If Americans Rockne and Brubaker can hang on to at least 5th place they can qualify, if they win a medal or finish 4th, they make it!

In the Men's event Johnny Weir continued to show the new Johnny with a big win. He is also proving that consistency between the Technical and Component scores is essential. I don't think I have ever seen him skate as well. Stephane Lambiel improved on his performance from China but still looks a bit rough around the edges. Russia's Griazev came through for the bronze. Buttle blew it and finished 4th (is the Buttle era over and the Chan sun rising in Canada?). The crunch looks like this, Weir is very in, Lambiel squeaks through, and then it's a cluster. Van Der Perren has to bit his nails and wait to see what Griazev, Davydov, and Carrierre (that's right...he's go a shot! He needs at least silver though!) can come up with to see if he makes it. Daisuke Takahashi should qualify with great ease (he can finish as low as 5th and make it and that won't happen!).

NHK Trophywill be fun to watch to see who makes it!

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