The Canadian national figure skating championships have begun, with Virtue and Moir taking the lead in the ice dance compulsories. I am not doing a full preview because I am not familiar enough with all of the Canadian skaters, but I will tell you what I want to know from this competition:
What does Patrick Chan look like? We already know he's scrapped any plans to do the quad, because his artistic components scores are just so high that he doesn't need the quad. Or because he can't do the quad reliably...maybe that's the one. He really is one of the true artists on ice, a beautiful skater. But his sole appearance this season was at Skate Canada International and he finished sixth. It's time to see if Chan can land his jumps, including those pesky triple axels. His components scores will always be quite high, but his programs definitely lose something when he has some falls. This will be his chance to show the world how confident and competent he is for the Olympics (and don't forget he was dealing with a muscle tear this fall, along with a coaching switch LAST WEEK).
Who the heck will get the Men's second spot? I think my personal favorite is Shawn Sawyer, because he looked so good at Skate America, where he finished second. But there are several legitimate contenders here and it will be interesting to see who joins Chan in Vancouver (it is up to Skate Canada's discretion who to pick, and they have as much as said that Chan will be at the Olympics).
What is going on with Joannie Rochette? We have gotten the requisite "Joannie wasn't training properly" articles quoting her camp recently. Why do these articles come out every season? If Joannie doesn't know how to train properly by now, then what is she doing here? I am sure that Rochette's problems this season have been mental as well as physical. This will be a chance to see if she's straightened them out. Otherwise this reigning world silver medalist is less and less of a medal threat in her home Olympics.
Who will win the second pairs spot at the Olympics: Dube and Davison are the 2007 and 2009 national champs, and they are obviously the highest international scorers for Canada, so I assume we'll see them on the Olympic team. But my guess is that the second spot goes to either Duhamel and Buntin or Langlois and Hay, although there are also Brodeur and Mattatall.
Will Virtue and Moir be able to take home the title?: HA, just kidding. I think all of the judges would be fired if Virtue and Moir somehow did not win.