by George Rossano
Grand Prix Ladies Final Standings after Five Events
Qualified for Final in Grey
Grand Prix Men's Final Standings after Five Events
Grand Prix Pairs Final Standings after Five Events
Grand Prix Dance Final Standings after Five Events
(27 November 2014) The last Grand Prix competition begins this
weekend, offering the last chance for skaters to qualify for the
Grand Prix Final in Barcelona next month. The U.S. has already
qualified two entries in the dance final, and is on the cusp of
qualifying at least one lady this weekend.
Four Russian ladies have already qualified. U.S. Skater Ashley Wagner klings to fifth place in teh standings with a second and a third in her two events. Sotoko Miyahara (JPN), Gracie Gold (USA) and Kanako Murakami (JPN) all placed third in their first event and have a chance to qualify. Polina Edmunds (USA) must win in order to have a chance of qualifying, which would then most likely lead to the fifth and sixth qualifiers being decided on tie breakers. The most likely scenario would have Gold winning at NHK and qualifying. A second place finish by Edmunds would not get her into the final, but would secure the sixth spot for Wagner. A third place finish by Edmunds would leave Wagner at the mercy of a tie breaker in deciding the sixth place qualifier.
For the men, Maxim Kovtun (RUS), Javier Fernandez (ESP) and Tatsuki Machida (JPN) have already qualified, leaving open three spots to be filled this weekend. These spots are most likely to go to Takahito Mura (JPN), Sergei Voronov (RUS) and Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN), who placed first or second in their first events. If they fill the top three spots at NHL, they will al finish with more than 20 points, pushing Jason Brown (USA), Denis Ten (KAZ) and Nam Nguyen (CAN) out of the qualifying.
Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor KlImov (RUS), Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang (CHN) and Wenjing Sui & Cong Han (CHN) have already qualified in Pairs. Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford (CAN), Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov (RUS) and Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin (CHN), who placed first or second in their first events are the favorites to fill the podium at NHK, and in doing so all could make the final, though the sixth qualifier might be decided on a tie breaker involving Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (RUS). In this case, Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier (USA) would be pushed out of their current fifth place position in the pairs standings.
Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA), Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron (FRA), Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani (USA) and Piper Gilles & Pau Poirier (CAN) have already qualified, leaving two places to be decided at NHK.
Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN, who placed first at Skate Canada and Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland (GBR) who placed third at Cup of Russia are most likely to take the fifth and six qualifying spots. Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) would have to pull off an upset to qualify. They have not scored as well as Weaver & Poje this season, and they were beaten by the Coomes & Buckland at cup of Russia. More than likely, Russia, once an unstoppable powerhouse in dance will likely have no dance entries in the final.
The way our crystal ball sees it, the U.S. is likely to qualify one lady and has an outside chance for two. They will be shut out in the Men's and Pairs, but have already qualified two in Dance. In comparison, Russia has already qualified six entries and is likely to pick of two or three more, and will lead the entry count for the final..