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Skate Canada Preview and Predictions

My predictions for Skate America were very unsuccessful and I expect these to be even worse, but why stop now!? To be taken with a grain of salt, I will now preview the second senior Grand Prix event of the season, Skate Canada, also know as the 2008 Homesense Skate Canada International, taking place this weekend.

Pairs:

Why to Watch:

Americans Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, fresh off their second place Skate America finish, are surely looking to build on the momentum from their thrilling Skate America free skate.

Keep an Eye Out for:

Americans Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent. The pair landed the first throw quad salchow in competition a year ago but they haven't quite broken through in the rankings yet...will this be the year? And will they throw the quad again?

Prediction:

1) Canada's Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison

2) McLaughlin and Brubaker

3) Russian's Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov
Men's:

Why to Watch:

Patrick Chan is being tasked with taking up the Canadian Men's skating mantle now that World Champ Jeffrey Buttle has retired. Chan won the National Championship last year and he's already been a strong Grand Prix performer, winning Trophee Eric Bompard last season. And how will U.S. Champion Evan Lysacek skate this week after the (somewhat) controversial Skate America loss?

Keep an Eye Out for:

Russia's Sergei Voronov, coached by 1994 Olympic champ Alexei Urmanov. He's Russia's male skating hope this year and he had to withdraw from Skate Canada last year due to injury, but he has a consistent quad toe... Also Brandon Mroz of the United States is making his senior Grand Prix debut after winning two events in the Junior Grand Prix last season.

Prediction:

1) Patrick Chan**

2) Evan Lysacek

3) Sergei Voronov

Explainer: A combination of home crowd advantage and obvious issues with Lysacek's technique that seem to be taking a toll on his scores makes me go with Chan for this one. However, if Lysacek takes out his quad, which I think he has said he will do, then he will actually probably win if he's clean. I think I am taking a bit of a chance with this pick...but what the heck

Ladies:

Why to Watch:

Italy's Carolina Kostner, who I feel was over-scored at 2008's Worlds, will be making her 2008 Grand Prix debut with this event. Let's see how they score her this season. Additionally, the lovely American skater Alissa Czisny won this event three years ago, but has been struggling in the Grand Prix ever since. Can she get it together?

Keep an Eye Out For:

The U.S.'s Caroline Zhang, who was getting a lot of publicity this time last year. Zhang has since been overshadowed by fellow Americans Mirai Nagasu and Rachael Flatt so far this year, but a strong performance here could change that.

Prediction:

1) Kostner

2) Canada's Joannie Rochette

3) Zhang

Ice Dancing:

Why to Watch:

Well, the event lost a lot of luster when Canadian Champs Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir had to pull out due to surgery recovery by Virtue. Perhaps the second-ranked French team, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, can show they are ready to compete with their world championship-winning countrymen (Delobel and Schoenfelder) who just won Skate America.

Keep an Eye Out For:

Canadians Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier, who came in second at last year's World Junior Championships and are making their senior Grand Prix debut in their home country.

Prediction:

1) Pechalat and Bourzat

2) U.S.'s Meryl Davis and Charlie White

3) Crone and Poirier

Explainer: I think maybe I am over-relying on home ice advantage in these predictions. Bronze is a complete toss-up so I went with the Canadians.

This event doesn't seem to have the star power or compelling matchups of Skate America, but perhaps that will help viewers like me to keep an open mind to what may be some stellar performances by less-heralded skaters.