The Grand Prix event assignments have been made. The United States selections and commentary are listed below. For the full list of skaters, check here.
Ladies: Sasha Cohen, Rachael Flatt, TBD
Korea's World Champion Yu-na Kim will be here to likely spoil the Americans' fun, along with Fumie Suguri of Japan, who doesn't usually win but can score high. I would also watch out for Susanna Poykio of Finland.
Men: Ryan Bradley, Evan Lysacek, Brandon Mroz (he is listsed on the ISU site)
Nice US lineup. I think their time should be easier than the ladies. But Tomas Verner from Czech Republic will be throwing some quads around, I'm sure. There will also be Shawn Sawyer and Kevin Reynolds of Canada to contend with.
Pairs: Keauna McLaughlin, Rockne Brubaker, TBD, TBD
The competition is pretty stacked for America's champs. They are up against China's Zhang and Zhang and Shen and Zhao, along with Ukraine's Volosozhar and Morozov. Also not to be ignored, Canada's Duhamel and Buntin. This should be a good one...
Ice Dancing: Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre
And the matchup between France's hard-to-beat Delobel and Schoenfelder and everyone else should be very interesting. Khoklova and Novitski of Russia will also be here, and they can be a wild-card, swooping in and beating teams you might not expect.
Trophee Eric Bompard (Oct. 15-18)
Ladies: Sasha Cohen, Alexe Gilles, Caroline Zhang
Well, Sasha Cohen wanted to come back, and she can start off the season being thrown to the wolves, with Japan's Mao Asada and Yukari Nakano and Korea's Yu-na Kim making up her major competition in this one. Can't wait to see all these ladies out there to start off the Grand Prix season!
Men: Ryan Bradley, Adam Rippon
You've got France's Joubert, Ponsero and Preaubert, all potential medallers. Throw in the amazing Nobunari Oda of Japan, fun jumper (and snappy dresser) Vaughn Chipeur of Canada, and Sergei Voronov of Russia. I might favor Joubert but it's definitely early.
Pairs: Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir
Canada's Dube and Davison weren't as impressive as last year, but they could medal here. But watch out for Savchenko and Szolkowy and Mukhortova and Trankov.
Ice Dancing: Madison Hubbell and Kiefer Hubbell, Navarro and Bommentre, Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates
These American teams will get some more experience against some of the best in the world, with Canada's Virtue and Moir and Frances Pechalat and Bourzat, along with Great Britian's Kerr and Kerr filling up the slots of competition.
Rostlecom Cup, Moscow (Oct. 22-25)
Ladies: Alissa Czisny, Kimmie Meissner, Ashley Wagner
Mao Asada and Miki Ando will make it tough for the Americans to win this one. But these are three American skaters I love to watch, they are beautiful skaters, who all have jumping inconsistency. I would love if they could pull it together.
Men: Brandon Mroz, Johnny Weir
DUN DUN DUN - The Return of reigning Olympic Gold Medalist Evgeny Plushenko! Starring Evgeny Plushenko! With Canada's Patrick Chan. Cameos by Johnny Weir and Japan's Takahiko Kozuka. Chan vs. Plushenko - who is not excited to see these two go head to head?
Pairs: McLaughlin and Brubaker
Biggest concerns should be China's Pang and Tong and Russia's Kavaguti and Smirnov.
Ice Dancing: Meryl Davis and Charlie White
Here with have Domnina and Shabalin, who won the worlds (I'm still not happy). I will be very interested to see how the judges stack Davis and White to Domnina and Shabalin. ANd I'm sure to be unhappy with the result! hee.
Cup of China, Beijing (Oct. 29-Nov. 1)
Ladies: Rachael Flatt, Bebe Liang, Mirai Nagasu
These lovely American ladies will have to contend with the lovely Joannie Rochette, who is great but can be beaten. But there will also be Carolina Kostner, Kiira (don't call it a comeback) Korpi from Finland and Suguri and Akiko Suzuki of Japan.
Men: Stephen Carriere, Evan Lysacek, Armin Mahbanoozadeh
Lysacek (and maybe Oda?) will be favored against Ponsero. But look out for our favorite "yes I can" man, Denis Ten from Kazhakstan. He gave us a thrill at worlds.
Pairs: Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig
Lots of competition here, Duhamel and Buntin, Shen and Zhao, Zhang and Zhang.
Ice Dancing: Belbin and Agosto, Chock and Zuerlein
Khokhlova and Novitski of Russia and Italy's Faiella and Scali will be trying to challenge Belbin and Agosto.
NHK Trophy, Nagano, Japan (Nov. 5-8)
Ladies: Becky Bereswill, Kimmie Meissner, Ashley Wagner
Meissner and Wagner again, with Japan's Nakano and Ando, Finland's Laura Lepisto, and Russia's Alena Leonova, among others.
Men: Jeremy Abbott, Adam Rippon, Johnny Weir
DICE-K!!!!!!!! Many in skating will be very excited to tune in for the return of Daisuke Takahashi. Especially since this is the first time we're seeing him since he dumped Morozov and had knee surgery. But he will not have it easy; in addition to the Americans, he will have Kozuka and Joubert as medal contenders.
Pairs: Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett, Rena Inoue and John Baldwin
China's Pang and Tong and Japan's Kavaguti and Smirnov will be the favorites here.
Ice Dancing: Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Jane Summersett and Todd Gilles
Again, Davis and White must go up against Domnina and SHabalin (darn, would have been nice to see what happened with Belbin and Agosto against them). Also Faiella and Scali, Kerr and Kerr and Canada's Crone and Poirier.
Skate Canada (Kitchener, Ontario) (Nov. 19-22)
Ladies: Alissa Czisny, Mirai Nagasu, Caroline Zhang
This event will feature Rochette, Suzuki, and Sarah Meier of Switzerland, along with other Canadians like Cynthia Phaneuf.
Men: Jeremy Abbott, Stephen Carriere, Armin Mahbanoozadeh
Well, good luck to the Americans to go up against Patrick Chan in Canada. Also, Kevin Van der Perren of Belgium and my fave cowboy, Samuel Contesti of Italy.
Pairs: Denney and Barrett, Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin
Dube and Davison and Langlois and Hay will be there, along with Savchenko and Szolkowy and Mukhortova and Trankov. Good experience for the Americans.
Ice Dancing: Hubbell and Hubbell, Samuelson and Bates
Yay, we see Virtue and Moir stack up against Delobel and Schoenfelder, among other big names. This is one to pay attention to.
So, what do you think? Do you think it was fair for America to give two Grand Prix assignments to Sasha Cohen Sasha Cohen to receive two invites? I can't say I blame either federation for giving them out, as it will increase event interest. In my opinion, I wanted to do anything possible to avoid a big nostalgia-filled comeback at the U.S. Nationals, so I'm glad we'll see her before then. Which match-ups are you most excited for?