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Rostelecom Cup Final Thoughts

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In honor of my beloved New York Yankees making the World Series which starts tonight (sorry if that has alienated 90 percent of my readers!), I decided to do a baseball themed Rostelecom Cup Analysis.

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

Russia definitely won the overachiever award for this Grand Prix. Sure, Evgeny Plushenko and Kavaguti and Smirnov were no brainers, but Alena Leonova, Rubleva and Shefer, and Artem Borodulin were definitely less predictable - especially Borodulin.

Alena Leonova: She is a joy to watch and an absolute ball of energy. She doesn't have the polish that I'd like to see yet, though, and whoever gave her 8s for program components was smoking something. Still, she had an impressive competition and continued building momentum. I think she deserved the bronze.

Kavaguti and Smirnov: Typical Moskvina couple in that she can score -2 through +2 on the same exact element. How can that even be? I had a feeling this couple would score a bit high despite making mistakes, and they did. I really enjoyed watching them, though, and that free skate is a crowd pleaser. I would also say that they deserved their placement.

Evgeny Plushenko: There was also a little known skater named Plushenko here. He teased the world for three years into thinking he was too out of shape and out of focus to come back, so that everyone commented that he was probably too out of shape and out of focus to come back, so that he would then have motivation to get in shape and get focused to come back and prove the haters wrong. Well played, Plushenko. Still, though he may not be my cup of tea, he looked GOOD, his jumps were impressive, and I do respect how ready he was for the competition (more ready than certain people who never took time off, ahem). He even acknowledges what he has to work on. I don't think this guy's going to let down until he gets another Olympic gold medal around his neck. That being said, I don't think it's a given that he'll win.

If They Don't Win It's a Shame

China's Pang and Tong: I liked both of their programs, although the free skate much more so than the short. They were on and looked solid, but this season is going to be tough for them to avoid being overshadowed.

USA's McLaughlin and Brubaker short program. Absolutely beautiful and nice scores.

Japan's Takahiko Kozuka: Did not think his style meshed as perfectly with the Jimi Hendrix short program music as it did with last year's "Take Five." But he skated great here, and I can't wait to see more of him.

For it's One, Two, Three Strikes You're Out

Japan's Mao Asada: Wow. Where have you gone?

USA's Johnny Weir: Did not look good at all here. Did not even look like a contender for the Olympic team, let alone a medal. Where have all the triple axels gone? As far as his programs - I liked the short program, think it has lots of potential. Free skate wasn't that exciting.

USA's Alissa Czisny: Augh. I love this skater so much. Beautiful music, beautiful program, beautiful costume (free skate). And the short program was great too. But too many downgrades, falls, mistakes...tentativeness.

Miki Ando's free skate: Repeat after me: Arm waving will not fool everyone into thinking I have choreography. It will fool some people, but not everyone. You can't fool me, Ando! Still, good job, loved the free skate footwork, and I thought her short program worked for her.

McLaughlin and Brubaker's free skate: Disaster. And not very interesting use of the music either.

Someone Please Drop a Chandelier on the Organist

USA ice dancers Davis and White's music cuts from their Phantom of the Opera free dance were very distracting to me. Nice program, but it was rough for me to listen to. Maybe that's because I was singing along through half of it. Have to stop doing that. Head to head, I would give the edge to Virtue and Moir. I am still dreaming about their lifts almost two weeks after Trophee Eric Bompard.

And the Put Me In, Coach Award Goes to

Ashley Wagner of the USA! YAY! She looked good. I think both of her footwork sequences need a lot of work, the one in the free skate was particularly distracting. There are definitely other spots to improve on and she had jumping deductions. But she looked confident and she performed those skates beautifully. I even liked that thing on her head in the free skate. Can't wait to see more of her. Also, whoever gave her 5s on program components, let's have a little chat on the ball field after study hall.

These Costumes Made Me Feel Like I'd Been Hit in the Face with a Foul Ball

Johnny Weir's short program corset thing. I tried to convince myself that it was so ugly it works. Like a pug or something. Unfortunately, I only got up to "so ugly," and then I stopped.

Alena Leonova's short program costume. So, this is what it would look like if Super Girl went to Russia.

Brandon Mroz in the free skate: The first thing I learned in Ruffles Anonymous is that they can distract from your skating, even if you are skating to Beethoven. The second thing I learned is that they look best with pearls.

Predictions?

I was back to my old self on predictions this round. I only got 2 placements exactly right, although I correctly predicted nine medal winners, and the entire pairs podium.