The Judges’ Table Does Canadian Nationals 2017

duhamel-radford-canadian-nats-2017

Canadian Nationals were as exciting of a competition as anyone expected. If you like the unexpected, this was not the event for you (stay tuned for our rejudging of US Nationals!). On the other hand, if you like tremendous skating and world medalist potential in all four disciplines, Canadian Nationals absolutely delivered. Every discipline featured recent Grand Prix Finalists – including GPF champions (finally!) Virtue/Moir, who judges agree are likely to continue their comeback success.

Thanks to these five judges for sitting at the table for Canadian Nationals!

Cassandra (@CKimm1314) | Tumblr
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I’ve been skating since I was three, and am working on becoming a fully certified coach. My first live event at SCI 2015 is what got me into this full time. Long time fan of Patrick Chan though! Now I’m obsessed and if I’m not watching figure skating I’m probably at the rink! 🙂
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Probably gonna go with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s free dance in Sochi.

Justine K. (@beanyskates) | Princess Beany Skates
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I skated for years and have now coached for just as many. I fell in love with the sport when I saw Alexei Yagudin live at the 2001 World Championships in Vancouver. Since then I’ve been to another 4 World Championships (and I’ll be in Finland this year!) and a number of smaller events, started a figure skating blog, and dedicated many seasons to getting up early to watch events live from Japan.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? I still think Scott & Tessa should be two-time Olympic Champions, definitely underscored in Sochi.

Ryan P. (@jetsfan_85)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I used to compete from ages 15-17 and casually skated for years later. Just got back into it this year (31y.o now). I watch every GP competition of the year as well as Canadian and American Nationals etc.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Bourne/Kraatz River Dance 1998 Worlds…they should have won gold.

Sharon (@RosaCotton) | Tumblr
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I became a year-round figure skating fan when my roommate and I watched Skate America, and I fell head-over-heels for Davis/White’s Die Fledermaus. Ice dance remains my favorite discipline (men a close second). Having followed the ShibSibs for five years, I was so thrilled for them winning silver at Worlds with two fantastic programs. So excited to see what will happen in ice dance this season!

Taryn (@tleeh)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I started skating at age 3; quit at age 10 when lessons were at 5 am. I’ve always watched! I’ve attended 2 Skate Canadas, 1 Worlds and one Canadian Nationals. I plan to attend Canadian Nationals this year.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Weaver/Poje Worlds 2016
LET’S GET JUDGING. Click “continue reading” below to continue. When you’re finished reading, leave a comment to let us know what you thought about Canadian Nationals, how you think the real judges did, and how you think our judges did. If you disagree, sign up to judge an event later in the year and share your thoughts!

Be honest: how much of this event did you *actually* watch?
Cassandra: Anything and everything that was broadcasted on TV.

Justine: Most of it, at least everything they aired on TV.

Ryan: The entire TSN/CTV broadcast. 

Sharon: Ice dance: all SDs, group 2 FDs; pairs: all SPs, group 2 LPs; men: top 5 SP and LP; ladies: top 5 SP and LP.

Taryn: All of it.

Who had the best performance of the event?
Cassandra: I’m gonna be biased, Patrick Chan’s free. It wasn’t perfect but it was still clean and beautifully skated. The program itself is absolutely gorgeous, the choreography and music is amazing. I especially enjoy the music. It never fails to give me goosebumps.

Justine: There were quite a few very strong perfromances. The level of skating in Canada is extremely high right now. Patrick Chan FS – the program is still boring but I love that Eric composed the music and when skated well it’s magical. Kaetlyn & Gabby SP – way to push each other and skate clean, now please do this at Worlds so Alaine can go to the Olympics too. Tessa & Scott – everything they do is sublime. Weaver & Poje FD – possibly the first time I watched it this season and I was blown away. Duhamel & Radford SP – with a couple little changes this was the strongest they’ve skated all season.

Ryan: There were many amazing skates in this event but I’m actually going to go with Nicolas Nadeau FS. What a fantastic entertaining program. Man did he sell that Elvis number. Please watch it if you haven’t. Love his huge jumps. The kid landed a quad loop! (2 ft i think) but still…He was a bit gassed at the end of his program but thats’ attributed to missing the entire GP season with injury, didn’t even train for a month and a half. So to come back with this was just awesome to see.

Sharon: Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir. They were spectacular in both segments. Well matched skating-wise, good connection and interpretation, beautiful lifts. They are still the ones to beat.

Taryn: Patrick Chan had the best skate. He is exquisite. Virtue/Moir were unsurprisingly perfect. Duhamel/Radford rocked. However, I will give the best overall performance (choreography and presentation) to Nicolas Nadeau’s Elvis program. It was fun, he skated it well, and the crowd was so excited for a man to skate well and enjoy himself! I don’t know how it translated on the TV but he single-handedly brought energy to the stadium.

Who improved the most from the last time you watched them skate?
Cassandra: Nicolas Nadeau! He missed the JGP and went to Golden Spin where he placed a disappointing 11th after some rough performances. So to see him come here to Nationals and do a free program like that was awesome. He nailed it when it really mattered. Hopefully he repeat and even improve on it at junior worlds. 

Justine: Nicolas Nadeau! Definitely my favourite Elvis FS this season (Javi, I still don’t like the program). So much charisma and energy throughout. Gorgeous jumps and then he decides to throw in a 4Lo, like what?!?! He mentioned he had wanted to land it in competition first, because obviously Nicolas Nadeau and Yuzu are two people I often mention in the same sentence. I wish he had been given that 2nd Worlds assignment because I definitely think he’s gonna be Canada’s #1 soon.

Ryan: Camille Ruest / Andrew Wolfe, a new pair team in Canada. They have only been together a few months I believe. They will impress, just watch. They have beautiful skating and elements and look like they will be very very good in the future if they stick together. Next year they may compete for a medal at nationals. This year they were 5th. They had problems with timing and certain other elements that were purely because of the lack of time they have had together.

Sharon: Gabrielle Daleman. At her last event, TEB, Gabby had a strong short program, a terrible long, and finished a devastating 4th place. Here, despite some bobbles, she kept her nerves in check, didn’t let the program get away from her. Her joy after finishing was touching. Hopefully this will give her confidence going into the rest of the season.

Taryn: Nam Nguyen and Kaetlyn Osmond were so much better than the disasters they had at last year’s Nationals. Nam has his jumps back and his speed is improving. Now he can concentrate on the details of his program. Kaetlyn landed jumps in her long program! Now if she can only be clean past the 2:30 mark.

Which performance was the most underscored?
Cassandra: Gabby Daleman’s free program. She was cleaner than Osmond and should have gotten the marks to show for it. Yes, her tech score may not be as high, but for overall quality and PCS she did much better.

Justine: I get that Kaetlyn is the ‘it girl’ but Gabby has improved so much in the past year or so. The least you could do is inflate her scores to the same degree as Kaetlyn’s. Also, I would have loved to see Nicolas Nadeau on the podium! Give him all the points for that FS!

Ryan: I don’t think any performances were really underscored.

Sharon: *game show host mode* WELCOME TO “”NATIONAL SEASON””!!!!! WHERE THE NAME OF THE GAME IS: WHICH COUNTRY CAN OUT-INFLATION THE OTHERS????!!!! The (long-time) reigning champion is Russia. But, oh boy, did Canada REALLY want the title, and put up a heck of a fight, only to finish a disappointing second. Better luck next time! *ahem* I did not think underscoring was really a problem this year. However, I personally would have had Kirsten Moore-Towers in second place after the short program.

Taryn: No one was underscored! It’s Canadian nationals. I was surprised at the amount of difference in the scores between Moore-Towers/Marinaro and Moscovitch/Ilyushechkina in the free skate when MTM were cleaner.

Which performance was the most overscored?
Cassandra: Katelyn Osmond, for sure, her free skate score was especially frustrating. How do you score a 138.65 with two falls? Also, a 72 in PCS, really? Her short program score was also ridiculously high. She’s a good skater but she is not THAT good.

Justine: I am thrilled Canadian ladies are so strong this season but the best SP EVER! Lol. Kaetlyn is good, she’s very good, but not quite that good. Her PCS were ridiculous. I think it’s safe to say Canada won the inflation game this year.

Ryan: Nam Nguyen. I don’t think he should have finished in the top 3. Kevin Reynolds as well. I think his PCS score was much too high. He floated into 2nd with his quads. To me both are very boring skaters that have a lot of work to do if they want to compete in the world.

Sharon: Kaetlyn Osmond in the short. She was the class of the field hands down, but that was a Medvedeva-high number!

Taryn: Kaetlyn Osmond. I love her skating skills and her short program was perfect, but overall that wasn’t worth a Canadian record.

Out of those skaters and teams who finished in the bottom half of their events, who had the best performance?
Cassandra: I wasn’t able to watch many of the skaters from the first flights, or really any for that matter. No time.

Justine: I was very impressed with Ruest & Wolfe in pairs. My friends and I have followed Drew’s career closely, being a local boy and all, and are thrilled he’s finally found his match. Camille and Drew’s SP was beautiful. I see so much potential here and it appears the judges were fans as well.

Ryan: No one really stood out to me. The skaters that were not in the final flight (other than Keegan Messing who ended up 8th after SP) really showed they were not ready to be in a final flight.

Sharon: New team Camille Ruest/Andrew Wolfe really caught my eye here. Nice chemistry between them, good packaging, enjoyable programs. I look forward to seeing how their partnership develops.

Taryn: I really enjoyed Campbell/Granger’s James Bond free dance. I liked all the dance teams. None were boring! I also liked Emy Decelle’s Great Gatsby free.

Who has the most to gain at their next competition?
Cassandra: Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje. Missing out on the Final has seemed to give them a new drive. Their new found commitment and confidence is sure to help them make an effort to leave a good impression at 4CC going into Worlds.

Justine: It appears everyone is ready for Kaetlyn to take a spot on the World podium, except her. Those silly mid-FS falls are going to keep taking her out of the game. If she can only skate a clean FS I can’t begin to imagine how high she’ll go.

Ryan: Camille Ruest / Andrew Wolfe. They have nothing to lose and any competition will get them better as they are very inexperienced with each other.

Sharon: Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje. They’ve definitely established themselves as Canada’s #2 ice dance team. If they can replicate at 4CC what they did this weekend, finish solidly ahead of Piper and Paul, perhaps even steal a medal from the Shibutanis or Chock/Bates, they will be back on the right track. At the very least they will be in contention for top 5 at Worlds, and at the most join the conversation for that bronze medal.

Taryn: Kaetlyn Osmond. If she can ever complete a clean free skate, she can be considered a contender. However, if she never gets through a free skate, she risks being dismissed.

Who has the most to lose at their next competition?
Cassandra: Perhaps Kevin Reynolds. If he doesn’t continue to skate well what happened to Liam Firus last season might happen to Reynolds this season. He has to prove to Skate Canada that he is more deserving of the worlds spot than Nam. I doubt he’ll have much trouble though, he’s got the quads.

Justine: This one’s tough, maybe Patrick? He added a new quad this season but if he doesn’t bring them during the event I worry his marks might begin to slide.

Ryan: I feel if Kaetlyn Osmond does’t perform up to par and how she can, the public, media, and Skate Canada will lose a ton of confidence in her. She scored 219 points total. That score would have given her a silver medal at last years worlds. Granted, this is national scoring, and scoring tends to be a bit inflated. I think she still would have came up with a medal at worlds if she skates they way she can. Is the consistent there?

Sharon: Kaetlyn Osmond. Because of how competitive the ladies field is right now, to keep gaining momentum and have a great shot at making the Worlds podium, Kaetlyn needs to win 4CCs. She has to beat Satoko Miyahara. And, most important of all, she has to skate a clean long program. If she continues to struggle in the long, that very well could keep her from reaching the top this year.

Taryn: Weaver/Poje. I liked their changes to the short dance. They need to at least maintain their world ranking and not slip any more.

What surprised you most about this event?
Cassandra: That’s pretty hard to answer, this event did kind of go the way I thought it would. Although a quad loop from Nadeau was certainly a shocker.

Justine: Canadian ladies can triple-triple like the best in the world! So much depth and talent in the ladies ranks. I was always #TeamDylan in the split, and it appears the judges are too. #TeamKirsten definitely outskated Dylan & Lubov in the SP and possibly FS but the judges went with Dylan & Lubov (I definitely prefer them as well).

Ryan: Crowd size to be honest. As we know skating crowds in North America at most events aren’t like they were in 1996. Ottawa did a great job selling this arena and the building looked pretty close to sold out for most free skates.

Sharon: That we had three ladies battling it out for the national title! When is the last time that happened?

Taryn: The poor men’s short program. Not a single man could skate cleanly.

Which skater/team selected (or likely to be selected) to participate in 4CCs, Euros, or Worlds will have the most success at those events?
Cassandra: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. They show no signs of slowing down and only seem to be getting better and more confident. Plus in terms of scoring their competition never seems to be very close.

Justine: Canada has the potential to medal in all 4 disciplines at Worlds. What?!?! While I doubt we’ll get all 4, I am thrilled to be going to Finland to watch! At this point, barring disaster I think Scott & Tessa are locked in on that gold medal.

Ryan: Virtue/Moir they absolutely are killing their record scores all season. They get higher and higher. I firmly believe that world gold medal is theirs as long as they come out and skate.

Sharon: Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir. They won’t be challenged at all at 4CCs (the battle will be for silver). And it is practically set in stone they will be in the top 2 at Worlds.

Taryn: Based on the season to date, Virtue/Moir.

Which skater/team selected (or likely to be selected) to participate in 4CCs, Euros, or Worlds will have the least success at those events?
Cassandra: Alaine Chartrand. She is not having a good season and I think what she needs most right now is a break. She needs to step back and let herself heal as well as figure herself out mentally.

Justine: I think we have a pretty strong team overall, I just worry about our men. Patrick had a great FS, but that SP would have buried him at Worlds. I just don’t know if his great basics can hold him up much longer against the quad phenoms.

Ryan: Hmmmm. This one is a tough one because there are a few wild card names in Canada right now. If they skate on they can be very very good and have very competitive scores. On the flip side, if they decide to leave their skates at home, so to speak, they will crash and burn. I’d have to say Nam Nguyen. I don’t think his speed and his PCS will help him much at all. The kid is going to need 3 quads to even stay in a competition. He’s incredibly lucky Keegan Messing and Nicolas Nadeau had poor short programs or Nam would likely be in 5th at this event.

Sharon: Nam Nguyen. He is still finding his stride. The men’s field is so fierce. It will be hard to get a high placement at 4CCs.

Taryn: Alaine Chartrand is going to 4CC. She hasn’t competed well this season. She had a sprained ankle at Nationals which will limit her training.

The experts always get to make “bold predictions.” Make a bold prediction about something that will happen in the remainder of the season.
Cassandra: No defending world champ will defend their title this year. Nathan Chen will medal at Worlds (not super bold I know). Patrick Chan will have two clean programs at the same competition.

Justine: Piper & Paul will beat Kaitlyn & Andrew. I was a little surprised it didn’t happen here, but then Weaver & Poje skated their FD quite brilliantly. Piper and Paul did beat them in PCS is both segments though…. Nic Nadeau will win Jr Worlds and Skate Canada will regret their decision and send him to Helsinki instead of Kevin Reynolds (a girl can dream, right?).

Ryan: Nathan Chen (USA) will win the world championships ahead of Fernandez and Hanyu. His 189 quads he does is just ridiculous. Ok…I exaggerated a bit. But seriously…

Sharon: Kirsten Moore-Towers will beat Lubov Ilyushechkina/Dylan Moscovitch at 4CCs and Worlds.

Taryn: The Canadian team will do so well at the Worlds that we will have 3 spots in every discipline at the Olympics. (I can dream!)

Bonus question! You get to unilaterally move one skater or team from this country to another country. Which skater/team do you pick, where do you send them, and why?
Cassandra: I would like to take Nathan Chen and give him to my country, for obvious reasons. Canada needs a young new male skater to take over after Patrick retires.

Justine: Is there any country out there who wants to take Kevin or Keegan?? I just can’t take either of them seriously anymore.

Ryan: I didnt know Ashley Wagner was born in Germany. I’d pack up, move and train there, represent them at worlds. She’d be a shoe-in every year and probably be like 15x German champ.

Sharon: Alaine Chartrand to Spain. So she can go to Worlds every year!

Taryn: I’d send our mid-tier dance teams to Japan, where they could be competitive and get on the national team for experience. We have 3 amazing teams at the top but I worry that they will all retire after 2018 and we’ll have no experienced teams to move up.

Anything else to add about this event?
Justine: Skate Canada was a pro when it came to broadcasting this event. Live feed with commentary, videos on YouTube and many events shown live on network tv. They are trying to get people to watch! Just stop making it so hard for this die-hard fan to watch when she doesn’t have TSN!

Ryan: We really missed Seguin and Bilodeau. They were out with a concussion Julianne was not cleared yet. However they will definitely get a spot on the world team. They are Canada’s clear second team.

Sharon: Tracy Wilson and company deserve a medal for their commentating. I am thankful that they didn’t talk from start to finish during the skaters’ programs, allowing me to enjoy the performances more. I also really appreciated how Tracy’s comments were informative and relevant to what we were watching on screen.

Taryn: It was so much fun that I’m already planning my trip to Vancouver next year!

What did you think about this year’s Canadian National Championships? How did our judges do? Leave us a comment to let us know, then sign up to judge a future event!

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