Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NHK Trophy Afterthoughts

I know it feels like some time has passed since this event ended but I did want to post some thoughts.

First, the underwhelming ladies field. Miki Ando won with an uninspiring performance to Cleopatra (although I felt the character was a bit improved). Also, surprisingly, Miki was the only Japanese competitor to win a medal at the event. For me, the only two bright spots in that event was Ashley Wagner's win of the short program and Alena Leonova's charming free skate (silver medalist), the rest, for me, was a bathroom break.

Second, the Ice Dance competition. I only watched the top three (again, given my hectic week thus far a detailed watch simply wasn't possible) but no surprises here. I will say I don't think that Crone and Poirier have that something special they had last season. And the winners, Davis and White, posting their personal best and again the highest dance total this season. Are they the ones to beat this year? The gap between them and the rest of the field in Japan was...cavernous!

In Pairs, Pang and Tong did it again with a lovely free skate. Kavaguti and Smirnov went for that quad salchow (which they always try with no speed?) and had that nasty fall. I thought they were going to withdraw when they went over to the referee. They said she suffered injury and had three minutes, I suspect she just needed to get her wind back (and perhaps pop a shoulder back in place?). Even still, they were only about six points back. I think this team, if they can get a clean competition together, will be formidable. Inoue and Baldwin nabbed the bronze ahead of Denney and Barrett who made unusual mistakes.

And the men, who by all accounts, were stunning in the short program, all but fizzled in the free skate. Joubert's win was unimpressive...he smartly played it safe because the rest of the field wasn't up to par and a win would more than likely get him to the final. Abbott, who was brilliant in the short, went to pieces in the did Takahashi and Kozuka. The huge bright spot for me was Michal Brezina who put down, for me, the best performance of the night and moved up to capture the bronze. Johnny Weir's silver medal performance was much better than what he did in Russia.

So you check out all the results here.

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