2009 Skate Canada
All twelve men planed triple Axels and triple-triple combinations in the Short Program, and four succeeded in completing them with positive scores. Jeremy Abbott was not one of them, but it didn't matter. his was the most consistent and smoothly skated, ending the night with a 2.7 point lead.
Abbott opened with a light, effortless looking triple flip - triple toe loop combination. On triple Axel, his landing edge was not secure and he turned out of the landing, with four judges marking it at -1. Following a change foot sit spin, he then landed a clean triple Lutz.
Abbott's program, to "A day in the Life," was neatly skated with good speed, but a bit restrained, due to personal concerns that were a source of distraction. Even so, his component marks were respectably in the mid sevens, with only Transitions falling being scored below seven. Several judges had him in the eights, but two also scored him in the sixes. He was scored second in both TES and PCS, but led the group in total score on the strength of his consistency in both technical and artistic effort.
Second in the Short Program was Daisuke Takahashi, who missed the entire 2009/09 season due to torn ligaments in his right knee in October 2008. Takahashi returned to the ice this spring, and only began jumping again in June.
Takahashi had a downgrade on triple toe, in combination with a triple flip. Following that landed triple Axel and triple Lutz, and skated the rest of his program cleanly. His spins made level three or four, but both step sequences were called level 2. Skating to "Eye" by Coba, he performed with speed and power, though a bit wild in places. His components averaged in the mid sevens for all but Transitions which were marked at 6.85.
Denis Ten, from Kazakhstan, placed third in the short, placing first in TES, but sixth in PCS. He landed three solid jump elements, triple Axel, triple Lutz - triple toe, and triple flip. He also completed three level 4 spins and two level 3 step sequences. All of his elements received positive scores. In components, however, the panel was less kind, with his marks averaging from 5.95 through 6.70.
Skating to "Sing Sing Sing" he skated with speed and enthusiasm. He is a small skater with a big personality that fills the arena. His performance received the biggest standing ovation of the event, and it is unfathomable that one judge had him at 4.25 for Transitions and an average component score of 5.25. Only one judge had him in the mid sevens to eight.
Armin Mahbanoozadeh, appeared overtaken by nerves at the start of his program, and fell in back crossovers before even getting started. He recovered to cleanly land triple Axel, triple flip - triple toe, and triple Lutz. Once he got past these first three elements he loosened up and started to skate his program. By the last half of the program he started to show some personality and expression of the music ("Virtuoso" by Edvin Marton), but generally his components did not make it past the mid fives. For elements, however, he was fourth best. A good start for his first senior Grand Prix event.
The third U.S. man, Stephen Carriere, placed tenth in the short with a lackluster performance. He fell on his triple Axel, but then landed triple Lutz - double toe and triple loop. Doubling the combination and missing the triple Axel pulled him out of the running in TES. The programs choreography and interpretation were not up to the challenge of "Carmina Bunrana" and his components suffered because fo tit, being marked mainly in the mid fives.
Favorite Patrick Chan had a difficult skate in the Short Program. He fell on his opening triple Axel, and doubled the toe loop in his combination (triple flip - double toe with an edge call). Triple Lutz was the only jump element landed cleanly.
Throughout the program Chan appeared rushed and a bit sloppy and four of his eight elements were scored negative, the first two jump elements and two spins, one of which (flying sit spin) he nearly fell out of, and called level 2.
On component, however, Chan led the pack, with the highest PCS scores. He skated with speed and power, perhaps even too much power. His components were in the mid sevens. with a smattering of eights. At over ten points back he is not totally out of the running for the gold, but he has his work cut out for himself tomorrow.
Takahashi had an opening quad toe loop planned, but popped it to a triple, with a shaky landing edge that received three GoEs of -1. He recovered with a nice triple Axel - double toe loop, and then solo triple Axel. Later in the program, however, he had three consecutive jump elements with problems on the landings, all of which were scored substantially negative.
Despite the errors in the jumps he maintained character and presented his program to the soundtrack from "La Strada." His components were mostly in the low eights, except for a Transitions mark of 7.60, the latter due to an obvious tendency to leave the program before the jump elements. His sequences and spins were well done, with marks of +3 from two judges in his circular step sequence. None of these elements, however, reached level four, and the circular steps were only level two. Takahashi won the Free Skate by 1.02 points, but it was not enough to win the event and placed second overall.
Skating last, Abbott opened with an effortless looking quad toe loop that just floated. This was followed, however with a triple flip with a poor landing and a step out of a triple Axel with a gratuitous (an unscored) single toe loop -- planned as a triple toe. Later in the program he also had a poor landing on a solo triple Lutz, so like Takahashi he had three jump elements scored negative. Also, like Takahashi, despite the errors he kept focus and presented his program to Saint-Seans Third Symphony well. The program is well choreographed, and this was his highest component score.
Overall, Abbott's components scores were in the high sevens and low eights. One rogue judge, though, went into the nines, compared to the lowest judge in the low sevens.
By winning the event Abbott earned enough points to squeak into Grand Prix Final, with 22 points. Takahashi also earned a berth in the Final with his second place finish.
The quirky and entertaining Alban Preaubert, from France, moved up to third in the Free Skate and third overall. Though only one element was scored negative (a solo triple Lutz with an edge alert, landed on the toe) his TES was only fourth best, mainly due to spins and steps that were called level two except for a level three change foot sit spin. The program was entertaining and well expressed in places, but also disconnected -- a limitation inherent in the cut of music (a medley of Rolling Stones songs). His components were in the high sixes and low sevens.
Denis Ten, who placed third in the Short Program, crashed and burned in the Free Skate and dropped to ninth in the Free Skate and seventh overall. Six of his jump elements were scored negative, and only a solo triple loop was landed cleanly.
Stephen Carriere recovered somewhat from the Short Program, placing seventh in the Free Skate and placed eighth overall. His TES, however, was fourth best. Two of his jump elemetns were scored negative - a triple Axel with a step out, and a triple flip with an edge call. His performance to "Firebird" showed little emotion and the choreography was not engaging, and he paid for it in his Choreography and Interpretation marks.
Armin Mahbanoozadeh maintained eighth in the Free Skate, but still dropped one place to ninth overall. He had trouble on three jump elements; a fall on triple Axel, and poor landings on a triple Flip - triple toe loop combination and a triple Lutz - double toe loop - double loop combination.
Mahbanoozadeh presented a respectably choreographed program to Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3. An introspective program, it was not particularly successful in drawing in the viewer. His marks for Choreography and for Interpretation were the lowest of the five, with Skating Skills and Performance the highest. His marks were generally in the mid to upper fives.
Patrick Chan continued to struggle technically. He placed sixth in the Free Skate and ended up sixth overall. His TES was eighth best, while PCS was third best.
It was downhill from a nice opening triple Axel - double toe loop. On triple flip - triple toe loop he received an edge call. He landed an excellen double Axel, but a triple Axel attempt (with a fall) was downgraded. He also fell on triple Lutz and a triple Salchow attempt. His spins and sequences were all called level three and were well executed, receiving GoEs of mostly ones and twos.
As in the Short Program, his PCS scores held up despite the technical errors. Skating to "Phantom of the Opera" it is a well choreographed program, with that mark being the highest of the components. For obvious reasons, his Performance and execution score was the lowest of the components. His individual marks spanned the mid sevens to the mid eights.
2009 Skate Canada Men's Medalists
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