Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pass the Turkey... I Mean, Pass the NHK Predictions, Please

I always wonder if the American skaters are a little bummed out if they get invited to a GP event the week of Thanksgiving. Does anyone know if the USFS organizes some sort of traditional turkey dinner for the team when they’re overseas? Or if it’s ill advised to do that just before a major competition, maybe they plan something directly afterwards…?

I’m just strangely curious about stuff like that… “that” being anything having to do with copious amounts of food.

Anyway, there’s one more GP event to be thankful for this weekend, and one more set of predictions to be made… so here we go with the NHK guesses:


Gold- Dube/Davison (CAN)
Silver- Pang/Tong (CHN)
Bronze- Inoue/Baldwin (USA)

This might be risky; the idea that one of the top 2 Chinese teams might be upset by one of the top 2 Canadian teams. But I’m thinking of the strong silver medal work of D & D at their home event, and I’m thinking of the subpar bronze medal work of P & T at their home event… and that leaves me feeling it more for Canada. Besides, with the roll Canada’s top singles skaters have been on all season, a little of that goodness is bound to spill over to the pairs sooner or later. Why not sooner?

And yes, I’m guessing bronze for our veteran-of-veterans I & B, but that’s largely due to the fact that I haven’t heard of any of the others! (And that includes the other U.S. pair!)

For the MEN:

Gold: Johnny Weir (USA)
Silver: Nobunari Oda (JPN)
Bronze: Stephen Carriere (USA)

Aw, Dice-K. Way back in the spring, I believe I predicted the Takahashi/Oda showdown to be the highlight of this year’s NHK Trophy. And now, wonderful hip-hop skating man, you sit sidelined for the season with a knee injury… and the showdown instead becomes a Weir/Oda thing. Not that they won’t put on a great show—Weir with his dramatic, here’s-the-performance-I-meant-to-throw-down-at-Skate-America vibe, and Oda with his dramatic, here’s-what-I’ve-been-working-on-while-I-was-suspended-last-season comeback. But I expect Weir to take this one. His consistency has done nothing but solidify over the past 18 months, and as some people pointed out after SKAM, that particular competition came much earlier than he typically competes in GP events. His entire presentation has had time to simmer since then; I’m eager to see what he serves up. Oda, after all this time, is a bit of a wild card. But I think he’s got it in him to shine again—especially in front of the home crowd.

IF I happen to be right about these top two, the bronze could be between Carriere and France’s Yannick Pansero. But while Carriere held his own nicely at Cup of China (earining Silver), Pansero started strong but burned out quickly at Skate Canada… and it’s not the first time he’s done so. Advantage Carriere.

As usual—even on Thanksgiving night—part two of my predictions will come tomorrow, hopefully before the compulsory dances are in the books. Here is Oda in the
Clip of the Day, in case you’re wondering what he’s looking like nowadays. I'll be back after I've eaten my weight in mashed potatoes...

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