Lots of exciting things going down this weekend in Mississauga.
I'm stoked to see Virtue and Moir healthy and competing this early in the season. I'm expecting nothing less than an epic showdown between them and Meryl and Charlie this season. Meryl and Charlie threw the first punch at Skate America...time for Tessa and Scott to swing back! I don't think there is anyone in the field that came close to being competitive with them. I do have a feeling the silver/bronze race will be close. On paper Cappellini and Lanotte look the best but a couple talented young Russian duos, a fresh new American team, or a dynamic Canadian partnership could steal the prize away.
Amongst the ladies, team USA has the opportunity to send a strong message. Save Alissa Czisny, I think this is the strongest possible field the U.S. could muster at an event (Nagasu, Flatt, and Wagner). I suspect both Russians, Leonova and Tuktamisheva, as well as Akiko Suzuki of Japan could prove worthy challenges. The ladies wildcard is Cynthia Phaneuf. She's either hot or cold.
The pairs event, I'm guessing, will be an easy walkaway for Volosozhar and Trankov. The World Silver Medalists may, however, find worthy competitors in the young Chinese team of Sui and Han. They have a dynamic spark on the ice and are known for going after (and occasionally hitting) big tricks. However, at least judging from Skate America, the judges are really rewarding basics this season and Volosozhar and Trankov will excel there. Takahashi and Tran of Japan, if they can hit technical content, could be a threat as well. Boo...no Americans in the field!
The men's field as Skate Canada is really good! World Champ Patrick Chan gets his season started. It was at this event last season that he smoked the competition and never looked back , going on to win the Grand Prix Final, Canadian Nationals, and of course Worlds. He'll meet tough competition this weekend with his World champ predecessor, Daisuke Takahashi, taking aim. It's the first heavy weight match of the season. Toss in Kevin Van Der Perren (who was surprisingly good at Skate America), Adam Rippon (who I think is on the precipice of being great), Denis Ten (who I think any moment will shock us), and Javier Fernandez (ultimate wildcard!) and I think you have the possibility of some amazing skates.