Smooth’s Podium Picks – 2019 Canadian National Skating Championships

Canadian-tire-national-skating-championships

Canadian figure skating has been going through a transition of power thru its ranks. Gone are pairs medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. Patrick Chan won’t be going for another Canadian men’s title. World ladies champion Kaetlyn Osmond is sitting out this season, along with Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in ice dance. That means a whole new line up of skaters, many full of promise for the sport in Canada. This year’s championships are taking place in St. John’s, New Brunswick starting on Monday.

jr_2018-02-16-032641_teamcanada-e1518794041240Men (Full Lineup) – At the top of the list is Keegan Messing. This season, he qualified for his first Grand Prix Final (for the injured Yuzuru Hanyu), finishing 5th. He finished 2nd at Nationals last season, so he should be the odds-on favorite this weekend. His main competition will be Nam Ngyuen, who was 3rd at Nationals last year. His Grand Prix season had him finishing 6th at Skate America and 5th at Skate Canada. Roman Sadovsky is an up and coming star for Canada, who was 7th last season and could reach the podium. He was 12th at Skate Canada. Nicholas Nadeau is coming off an injury plagued season and is making his debut. He participated in his only competition this season at Finlandia Trophy, where he finished.

Skaters to Watch: Keep a watchful eye on Stephen Gogolev. He won the Junior Grand Prix title with an impressive free skate this season. Joseph Pham, who had a 3rd place finish at JGP Czech Skate this year should also be of consideration. Both skaters will be making their senior debuts in 2019.

Smooth’s Picks
1. Keegan Messing
2. Nam Nguyen
3. Stephen Gogolev

daleman_gabby-1040x572Ladies (Full Lineup) – As we mentioned previously, Kaetlyn Osmond is sitting of this season after winning the World ladies title and finishing 3rd at the Winter Olympics. That leaves three elite skaters ready to fight for the top spot. Gabby Daleman is the defending champion. However, she’s had battles with her mental health and was forced to sit out the Grand Prix season to get better. Despite all her health issues, she’s still the favorite to repeat this weekend. Her biggest competition will be from Larkyn Austman, who surprised everyone last year with a 3rd place finish at Nationals and a place on the Olympic team. This season, Austman has been struggling with injuries, but should be at 100% percent for this weekend. Alaine Chartrand struggled last year to a 4th place finish at Nationals, missing out on the Olympics. This season is no different, as she finished 9th at State America and 8th at Skate Canada. Regardless, the 2016 Canadian ladies champion is still a favorite to make the podium this weekend.

Skaters to Watch: Veronik Mallet has been away from the ice for almost three years due to injury. She makes her return to competition this weekend. Her best finish at Nationals was 3rd in 2015. Alicia Pineault also showed some promise, as she had a 10th place finish at Skate Canada this year.

Smooth’s Picks
1. Gabby Daleman
2. Larkyn Austman
3. Alaine Chartrand

1_8ioyuvvopk4pg6ab8gam1qPairs (Full Lineup) – With the retirement of Duhamel and Radford & the surprise end of Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau collaboration, the changing of the guard leaves Kristen Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro as the team most likely to benefit from their departure. They had a solid Grand Prix season, finishing 3rd at Skate Canada and 4th at NHK Trophy. They also missed a top 10 finish at last year’s Winter Olympics, finishing 11th. After two consecutive 3rd place finishes at Nationals, they’re the overall favorite this weekend to take the top spot. Only five other senior teams are participating Nationals this weekend. Camile Ruest and Andrew Wolfe haven’t had a top three finish in their tenure as a pairs team, with their best being a 5th place showing at Internationaux de France in 2018. Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud were 5th at Nationals last season, with a 5th place showing at Skate Canada.

Teams to Watch: The two other teams are newly formed. Justine Brasseur and Mark Bardei makes their debut as a pairs team. Brasseur was previously paired with Mathieu Ostiguy for four years. Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland are the reigning Canadian Junior champions and will make their Senior debut this weekend.

Smooth’s Picks
1. Kristen Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro
2. Camile Ruest and Andrew Wolfe
3. Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland

GillesPoirier-Short1_resizedIce Dance (Full Lineup) – The top two ice dance teams in the absence of Virtue and Moir also happens to be in the top 10 ISU world rankings. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (#8) are looking for their first National title after finishing 2nd four times, including last year. They also were third in both their Grand Prix assignments this season. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (#10) are looking for their third National championship. They finished third at last year’s Worlds and was 7th at the Winter Olympics. Both teams will battle for the top two podium spots. Third place will be with the remaining six teams participating. Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus look to make the podium after two 4th place finishes at Nationals. Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker are also looking to be one of those teams after a 6th place showing at last year’s Nationals.

Teams to Watch: After failing to gain citizenship to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics, Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen will skate as a Canadian ice dance team. The three time Danish champions finished 13th at last year’s World championships. Molly Lanaghan and Dmitre Razgulajevs make their second appearance on the senior level. Last year, they finished 7th at Nationals.

Smooth’s Picks
1. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier
2. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje
3. Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen

——————————————————————

Here are my picks for Juniors

aleksa-rakic

Men – Aleksa Rakic – The 14 year old from BC had a 6th place finish at JGP Czech Skate this season.

img_0438

Ladies – Hannah Dawson – The versatile skater who also participates in pairs was 10th at JGP Canada this season.

DtThvGAVsAAhYGs

Pairs – Patricia Andrew and Paxton Fletcher – The team finished 2nd at last year’s Junior Nationals.

Marjorie-Lajoie-Zachary-Lagha999

Ice Dance – Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha – The team goes for a third Canadian Junior National title. They were 4th in the world on the junior level last year.

Advertisements
Posted in Canada, Figure Skating, Figures skating, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, International Sklating Union, Skate Canada, Skating | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

UPDATE: Torontocast Begins Geo-Blocking Listeners in the United States

The last three years has been a roller coaster for small broadcasters like myself.  It all started in 2016, when our long-time broadcast provider, Live365 abruptly shut down.  Then we moved to Radionomy, where we had to endure months of poor customer service and bad technical issues.  18 months later, we moved to SoniXcast, where we stayed for only eight months due to inconsistent technical problems.  We finally found a place we could call home in Torontocast, where we’ve experienced top notch customer service and technical support that is the best we’ve encountered.

You would think it was too good to be true.  But then we were informed by Torontocast that they received a letter from SoundExchange, the Internet arm of the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) saying they were not in compliance of music royalties.  The company initially informed us that they were going out of business.  But after a couple of days, they recanted, and informed everyone on the network that they were implementing a “geo-block” on listeners from the United States.  On January 12th, Torontocast began blocking listeners in the US.  In order to be complaint, all Torontocast broadcasters would need to purchase licencing.

I, too, thought about hanging it up after 17 and a 1/2 years of broadcasting.  But decided not to.  That’s is exactly what corporate broadcasters want…less competition.  So, we’re not going anywhere, anytime soon.   We will continue to look at ways to provide our broadcasts to our US listeners.  This includes shopping around for other internet broadcast providers, including Live365.

————————————————————————

What you can do to continue listening to “Smooth Jazz and More” uninterrupted.

  1. Purchase a VPN app for your smartphone. – We recommend VPN Express, which offers users and affordable data plans and daily and monthly rewards.  Click on the link here.
  2. Download a web browser that has VPN capabilities. – We recommend the OPERA web browser, which has free VPN access for Canada and other countries.
  3. Please donate to Smooth Jazz and More. – You can start by contributing to our GoFundMe Fundraising Campaign. You can also purchase items at our gift store at Café Press. US Music Royalties have increased over 300% percent since Congress allowed legislation protecting micro broadcaster like us to expire. We need any funds you can give to help offset any increases that will come our way. If you’ve donated, thank you for your support.

In the meantime, WRITE TO CONGRESS!  Tell them you support micro broadcasters and want legislation protecting them from unfair music royalties, or at least, have non-profit royalty rates rolled back to the ones that existed prior to 2016.

 

And while you’re at it, TWEET OR WRITE A LETTER TO SOUNDEXCHANGE!  TELL THEM TO STOP BULLYING SMALL INTERNET BROADCASTERS!

 

 

 

Posted in CRB, Internet Radio, Internet Radio Station, Music, Music Industry, Music Royalties, Radio, SoundExchange, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BREAKING: TorontoCast to implement a geoblock on US listeners January 12 due to SoundExchange royalty demands.

 

Earlier this week, SoundExchange, the internet arm of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), sent a letter via email to TorontoCast administrators that the company was in violation of copyright laws in the US because of royalties. They demanded the company either come into compliance, or implement a geoblock on American listeners.

The company chose the latter.

As a result, our stream will no longer be available to US listeners effective January 12. We’re trying to decide our next strategy. In the meantime, our old broadcast home, Live365 has reached out to TorontoCast broadcasters, including us. Although, nothing has been agreed to yet. Since being forced to leave Live365 in 2016, we’ve bounced around broadcast providers. The result has been rather frustrating dealing with poor quality and horrible customer service.

Since the notice, we’ve contemplated shutting down our Internet radio station completely.   However, this development is still evolving and a decision on bringing TorontoCast stations into compliance with SoundExchange in the United States is still being worked out. We hope to have something in writing by the new year.

Stay Tuned!

Posted in Internet Radio, Internet Radio Station, Radio, SoundExchange, Torontocast, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

#MeToo Movement Goes ‘Stir Crazy’ With Christmas Music Ban

image

Smooth Jazz and More will continue the tradition of playing the classic, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in it’s daily Christmas playlist. It would be downright lunacy not to! We’ll tell you why, but first a brief history of the song.

It was written in 1944 by songwriter, Frank Loesser, who wrote it for his wife, Lynn Garland. The two would perform the song at parties, suggesting the evening was over. The song’s lyrics describes a man who tries to convince a woman that she should stay for the evening because the weather is cold and the trip home would be difficult. While the lyrics make no mention of any holiday, it’s popularly regarded it as a Christmas song due to its winter theme.

In 1949, the song was performed in the film, “Neptune’s Daughter” by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbán. The tune won an Oscar for best original song. Since then, there have been over three dozen versions of the song, including versions we play in our Christmas playlist by Ray Charles and Betty Carter; Lou Rawls and Dianne Reeves; and Vanessa Williams and Bobby Caldwell.

In recent years, the song has had controversy because of it’s suggestive lyrics, preferably, the line, “What in this drink?”. Many critics have suggested the song is no longer appropriate due, in part, to the case of comedian Bill Cosby, who was convicted in June 2018 of sexual assault and is currently serving a 10 year sentence for the crime. Other cases, such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey also had an influence. This week, Cleveland radio station WDOK announced that it had pulled the song, citing listener concerns over the song’s content in the wake of the Me Too movement. In addition, Canadian radio broadcasters Bell Media, CBC Radio, and Rogers Media also followed suit.

Our position on this matter is clear. We believe in free speech and we don’t believe in censorship, which this is. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a classic, worthy of airplay.  The song isn’t about rape, nor should it be known as a “date rape anthem”.  In the film, Neptune’s Daughter,  the song is actually performed twice. Once, with Montalbán as the aggressor and Williams as his target, and then again with Betty Garrett pressuring Red Skelton. Skelton gets so flustered as he tries to leave that he puts on Garrett’s coat and picks up her purse.

If we ban “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, then we need to also consider songs like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, which would suggest a burglar sexually assaulting a woman in the house. Or, any Christmas song that mentions “Jesus” (Not that it’s the reason for the season.).

Critics of the song need to take a step back and “chill”. This new controversy is political correctness gone “stir crazy” as a result of overreaching and looking for reasons to suit their own agendas.

Just stop it!

Posted in #MeToo, Christmas, Christmas Music, Political Correctness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth’s Podium Picks – ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final (Senior & Junior) 2018

isu-grand-prix-figure-skating-final-vancouver-2018

The Grand Prix season ends this weekend with both the Junior and Senior Final taking place in Vancouver, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. It will be an Olympic-style showing, as a number of former medal winners will be participating on the senior circuit. Future Olympians will be crowned on the junior side starting this Wednesday.

shoma-uno-1Men – Three weeks ago, two-time Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu walked out to the podium on crutches to receive his gold medal at Rostelecom Cup. Sadly, he announced last week that he would not be able to participate in the final this weekend. Canada’s Keegan Messing will take his place and is the lone entry representing the country, having been named an alternate on points. Japan’s Shoma Uno is considered one of the favorites this weekend. He was undefeated this season, having won Skate Canada and NHK Trophy. American Nathan Chen will be close behind him for the podium. He was also undefeated, with wins at Skate America and Internationaux de France. Czech Republic’s Michal Brezina, Russia’s Sergei Voronov and Korea’s Jun-Hwan Cha round out the field.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Shoma Uno (JPN)
2. Nathan Chen (USA)
3. Sergei Voronov (RUS)

cropped_image_lLadies – It will be Russians and Japanese skaters vying for the crown. But the story of this Gran Prix season is the rise of Japan’s Rika Kihira. Her breakout performance at NHK stunned the judges and the home crowd, winning her first Grand Prix title. She repeated her performance at Internationaux de France, punching her ticket to Vancouver. It would be hard not to consider the young skater the favorite this weekend, but she has lots of competition. Olympic champion Alina Zagitova of Russia looks to repeat as GP Finals champion. She’s undefeated this season with wins in Helsinki and Moscow. Teammate Elizaveta Tuktamysheva looks to continue her comeback tour with a podium. She won Skate Canada and finished third at NHK. Japan’s Satoko Miyahara’s best finish in GP Finals action was 2nd two years ago in Marseille, France. Other skaters looking to make the podium are Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto and Russia’s Sofia Samodurova.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Rika Kihira (JPN)
2. Alina Zagitova (RUS)
3. Satoko Miyahara (JPN)

evgenia-tarasova-and-vladimir-morozov-1Pairs – This could be a close competition, with the possibility of a Russian sweep, or a brand new Final’s champion. Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are the favorites this weekend, as they captured gold at Skate America and at Rostelecom Cup. Teammates Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert were also undefeated with wins in Helsinki and NHK. Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin is the third Russian team that could make the podium. They were third twice to punch their ticket to the final. The team that stand in their way of a Russian sweep are France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres. They won their first Grand Prix title at Skate Canada. They repeated the favor at Internationaux de France and could win their first final. Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise reached the final with two 2nd place finishes in Helsinki and Moscow. China’s Cheng Peng and Yang Jin also had two 2nd place finishes to reach the final.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (RUS)
2. Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert (RUS)
3. Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (FRA)

rs_1024x759-180212200226-1024-madison-hubbell-zachary-donohue-winter-olympics-couples-ct-021218Ice Dance – Despite three Russian teams making the final, the favorites are Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. They’ve finally broken away from other American ice dance teams to dominate the Grand Prix this season, as they won at Skate America and Skate Canada. Their main competitors this weekend will be Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin, who were undefeated this season, winning in Helsinki and Moscow. Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-luc Baker won their first GP title at NHK and had a 4th place finish at Internationaux de France. Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri had two 2nd place finishes at Skate America and in Helsinki to make it to Vancouver. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov also had two 2nd place Grand Prix finishes to make the final. Russia’s Tiffani Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro qualified for the GP Final on points.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA)
2. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin (RUS)
3. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-luc Baker (USA)

Here are my picks for the Junior Grand Prix Final. It could be a Russian sweep in all categories this weekend.

maxresdefaultMen – Petr Gumennik (RUS), He set a junior men’s world record in the free skate.

ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating - YerevanLadies – Alexandra Trusova (RUS) with a quad lutz in her arsenal, she could lead a Russia dominated junior podium.

29101195_1961501340832938_6546544999746502656_oPairs – Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galiamov (RUS), They were undefeated all season, winning at JGP Canada and JGP Slovakia.

khudaiberdieva-nazarov-4891Ice Dance – Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Nikita Nazarov (RUS), Wins at JPG Czech Republic and JPG Slovakia put them at the top of the contenders.

Posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Grand Prix, Grand Prix Final, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Junior Grand Prix, Skating | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth’s Podium Picks – Internationaux de France de Patinage 2018

internationaux-france-grand-prix-2018

The final week of Grand Prix qualifying ends with competition in French Alps city of Grenoble.  One of the more exciting contests will be in the ladies competition, where a skater came out of nowhere to defeat two former World Champions.  Can she make it two in a row?  Also, French teams in pairs and ice dance can win in their home country this weekend.

181019-skateamerica-06-jpgMen – (Full Lineup)

This weekend will be Nathan Chen and everyone else. The American is the overwhelming favorite in Grenoble. Teammate Jason Brown didn’t get the performance he was expecting at Skate Canada. He looks to make up for his fourth place finish a month ago. Russia’s Alexander Samarin just missed the podium at Skate Canada, finishing in 4th. This could be his best chance at reaching the podium this wekend. China’s Boyang Jin also has his best chance at a podium slot, as he was 5th at GP Helsinki.

Smooth’s Picks –
1. Nathan Chen (USA)
2. Alexander Samarin (RUS)
3. Boyang Jin (CHN)

Skaters to Watch: Nicholas Nadeau (CAN), Kenji Tanaka (JPN), Daniel Samohin (ISR)

screenshot2018-11-12at7-36-49pmLadies – (Full Lineup)

The ladies division got a wakeup call in Tokyo two weeks ago, as Japan’s Rika Kihira (Center, with Japan’s Satoko Miyahara, left and Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.) pull off not one but two triple axels to win her first-ever senior Grand Prix title at NHK Trophy. She can punch her ticket to Vancouver with another victory this weekend. But she’ll have her work cut out for her. Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva looks to improve on her 3rd place showing at Skate Canada. A win by the 2018 Olympic silver medalist could put her in the final. American Bradie Tennell just missed the podium at Skate America, finishing 4th and is a contender. So, too is Japan’s Mai Mihara who also finished 4th at NHK Trophy. Russia’s Stanislava Konstantinova was a 2nd place finisher in Helsinki.

Smooth’s Picks –
1. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS)
2. Rika Kihira (JPN)
3. Stanislava Konstantinova (RUS)

Skaters to Watch: Alexia Paganini (SUI), Maria Sotskova (RUS), Marin Honda (JPN), Laurine Lecavelier (FRA)

james_cipresPairs – (Full Lineup)

Only seven teams compete this weekend. At the top of the list is the hope team of Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres. They won their first ever Grand Prix title at Skate Canada and can automatically qualify with a win this weekend. Of the remaining teams that won’t make the Grand Prix Final, the top teams that could make the podium are Aleksandra Boikova & Dmitri Kozlovskii of Russia. They had a strong senior debut finishing 4th at Skate Canada. Former US Champions Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea are in the mix for a podium spot with their 5th place finish at NHK Trophy. North Korea’s Tae Ok Ryom & Ju Sik Kim continues their upward swing in Grand Prix competition, as they finished 5th in Helsinki.

Smooth’s Picks –
1. Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres (FRA)
2. Aleksandra Boikova & Dmitri Kozlovskii (RUS)
3. Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea (USA)

Teams to Watch: Minerva Fabienne Hase & Nolan Seegert (GER), Camile Ruest & Andrew Wolfe (CAN)

gabriella-papadakis-and-guillaume-cizeronIce Dance – (Full Lineup)

2018 Olympic silver medalist Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron were supposed to compete at NHK Trophy when a back injury to Cizeron sidelined the team. Because of the withdrawal, the team will not qualify for the Grand Prix Final in two weeks. However, they’re still considered the overwhelming favorites going into Grenoble. A number of teams could give them a run. Americans Kaitlyn Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker could punch their ticket to the Final win as a result of their win at NHK Trophy. Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov were 2nd at Skate Canada and can also qualify for the final with a 1st or 2nd place finish. Canadians Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier finished 3rd at Skate Canada and have an outside shot at the final with a 1st place showing.

Smooth’s Picks –
1. Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
2. Kaitlyn Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker (USA)
3. Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov (RUS)

Teams to Watch: Rachel & Michael Parsons (USA, 3rd place at NHK Trophy), Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac (FRA)

Last Week’s Results

Men: 1/3
Ladies: 2/3
Pairs: 2/3
Ice Dance: 3/3 (CALLED IT!)

Posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Grand Prix, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Skating | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth’s Podium Picks – Rostelecom Cup 2018

screen-shot-2018-11-01-at-11-23-07-pm

Round four of the Senior Grand Prix series heads to Moscow and the possibility of two different sweeps of the podium for Russia. One category could be a definite, but the other is quite unsure. More skaters could qualify for the Grand Prix Final with one more stop to go.

messing-keegan-20181722-1180Men (Full Lineup) – Last year, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu was upstaged by Nathan Chen’s outstanding performance and had to settle for 2nd place. This year, the two-time Gold medalist looks to get what was taken from him in Moscow. He’s the overwhelming favorite this weekend, but there are other skaters who look to challenge him. Canada’s Keegan Messing (Photo) will be his biggest competitor coming off a 2nd place finish at Skate Canada last month. A 1st or 2nd place finish could put him in the final. Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada finished 3rd at last year’s Rostelecom Cup and looks to get back to the podium. American Alexei Krasnozhnon performs in his native Russia this weekend and looks to do better than his 7th place finish at Helsinki.

Smooth’s Pick –

1. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
2. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS)
3. Keegan Messing (CAN)

Skaters to Watch: Julian Zhi Jie Yee (MAS), Andrei Lazurkin (RUS)

gracie-gold-opens-up-about-professional-help-socialLadies (Full Lineup) – The question this weekend is whether Russian ladies can sweep the podium. The “deep bench” of skaters is led by Olympic champion, Alina Zagitova, who easily won the Grand Prix of Helsinki and can punch her ticket to Vancouver. Teammates Sofia Samodurova (3rd, Skate America) and Polina Tsurskaya (7th, Skate America) could make that sweep of the podium a reality. However, Elizabet Tursynbayeva of Kazakhstan could break it up with a good showing this weekend. American Gracie Gold (Photo) makes her return to Grand Prix action after two years away for the sport. Her last appearance in Moscow was in 2012, where she finished 2nd. Mako Yamashita of Japan finished 2nd at Skate Canada and can also make the podium with a big performance.

Smooth’s Pick –

1. Alina Zagitova (RUS)
2. Sofia Samodurova (RUS)
3. Elizabet Tursynbayeva (KAZ)

Skaters to Watch: Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN), Eunsoo Lim (KOR).

nicole-della-monica-and-matteo-guarise-1Pairs (Full Lineup) – Eight teams compete this weekend. At the top of the list is Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov, who dominated Skate America with a 1st place win. Teammates Alisa Efimova & Alexander Korovin were right behind in 2nd place and look for another podium spot. Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin finished 3rd in Helsinki and could make it a sweep on the podium in pairs, as well. A few teams could top that from happening. Italy’s Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise (Photo) were 2nd in Helsinki and look to make the Grand Prix Final with a win. Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya & Harley Windsor of Australia had a disappointing Senior GP debut, finishing 7th at Skate Canada and look for a better showing this weekend.

Smooth’s Pick –

1. Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (RUS)
2. Alisa Efimova & Alexander Korovin (RUS)
3. Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin (RUS)

Teams to Watch: Ashley Cain & Timothy LeDuc (USA) 3rd at Skate America, Deanna Stellato & Nathan Bartholomay (USA)

carreira-ponomarenko-8261Ice Dance (Full Lineup) – Only nine teams are competing this weekend, with Americans Madison Chock & Evan Bates pulling out due to injury. That makes Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin the team to beat. They won their 1st Grand Prix title at Helsinki and can make the Final with a win. A few teams could make their first podium this weekend. They include Sara Hurtado & Kirill Khaliavin of Spain, who were 4th in Helsinki, Americans Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko (Photo) who were 5th in Helsinki and Natalia Kailszek & Maksym Spodyriev of Poland, who were 8th at NHK Trophy last weekend.

Smooth’s Pick –

1. Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin (RUS)
2. Sara Hurtado & Kirill Khaliavin (ESP)
3. Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko (USA)

Teams to Watch: Allison Reed & Saulius Ambrulevicius (LTU), Misato Komatsubara & Tim Koleto (JPN)

Last Week’s Results

Men – 2/3
Ladies – 0/3
Pairs – 2/3
Ice Dance – 3/3 (CALLED IT!)

Posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Grand Prix, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Rostelecom Cup, Skating | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment