The second Grand Prix event of the season is this weekend in Moscow. What can you look forward to?
Why to Watch: Unfortunately, reigning world champions Domnina and Shabalin withdrew due to injury, which means we may not get much of a competition here, as America's Davis and White are expected to win easily. However, it will still be our first chance to see their new programs in a major competition.
Keep and Eye Out For: Home team Rubleva and Shefer, fresh off of a respectable fifth place at TEB. Also, Canada's Crone and Poirier, who are young but have already had success on the Grand Prix circuit.
1) Davis and White
2) Crone and Poirier
3) Italy's Cappellini and Lanotte
Why to Watch: If the reigning Olympic gold medalist Evgeny Plushenko's first Grand Prix comeback event doesn't pique your interest, then consider the "comeback" of Johnny Weir, who nearly quit the sport after last year's embarassing fifth place showing at Nationals. Weir has gone to choreographer David Wilson, who molds Yu-na Kim's "can't miss" routines, so we'll see if Wilson has the same magic with Weir.
Keep an Eye Out For: America's Brandon Mroz, who outshined both Weir and Evan Lysacek at last year's Nationals, as well as Takahiko Kozuka of Japan, an artistic skater who is always a threat.
Why to Watch: Russia's Kavaguti and Smirnov, who are on the rise, and China's Pang and Tong. Both definite Olympic medal contenders.
Keep an Eye Out For: USA's McLaughlin and Brubaker. They're training with John Nicks now - will he help them channel their energy into dynamic (and clean!) programs?
1) Kavaguti and Smirnov
2) Pang and Tong
3) McLaughlin and Brubaker
Why to Watch: Rumor is that Japan's Mao Asada is switching up her short program for this competition to one of her exhibition pieces, but according to The Korea Herald, this won't happen til after Rostelecom. Too bad. Asada has not looked great in either the Japan Open or TEB, where she still managed second place. Her country-woman, Miki Ando, will also be vying for the title here. Ando struggles at times with downgrades and cannot compare on components with some of the other ladies but she is a strong skater and she will be a jumping bean out there. Also, the first Grand Prix for both Alissa Czisny and Ashley Wagner of the USA. We'll see how Czisny stands up to the Olympic year pressure and we'll also get a chance to take a look at Wagner, who can skate with a lot of passion.
Keep an Eye Out For: Russia's Elena Leonova. Fresh off of her Finlandia Trophy win, she'll likely have the crowd behind her.
*Maybe wishful thinking? But we know she can beat Czisny in the free skate...like she did at Nationals.