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NHK Trophy: Men's Free Skate First Impressions and Final Standings

Here is what I thought of the men's free skate.  I am going to cover the final groups for these things as well as the Americans, if they fall outside the final group.

Ross Miner (USA, music: As Time Goes By):  The costume choice is a bit odd in that it makes him look top heavy almost, but he is too thin to ever really be top heavy.  Anyway, nice little lyrical work at the top.  Triple loop is lovely.  Triple lutz is clean...not the greatest spread eagle position.  The second one is better and right into another triple loop...with a flawed landing.  He does a lot of spread eagle things.  Triple flip is ok.  Pretty sit spin.  Axel has a botched landing as well.  Not a very successful performance but it is a nice program. 121.77 for free, 186.42 overall.  Fourth for now.  Disappointing.

Denis Ten (Kazakhstan, music:  Totentanz):  If there's anything Denis Ten likes, it's his gloves.  Don't take his gloves away!  Turned out landing on triple axel off the top.  Triple lutz has a shaky landing, lots of snow.  Lots of skating around to gear up for this flip that he falls on.  Disaster.  Let's see if he can regroup.  Footwork here is nice, pretty traditional.  Slower music...Ten is really a beautiful skater who always has potential to skate well...triple axel has some extra turns on landing but he does the combo.  Next jump is beautiful.  Hand down on triple lutz and then he falls.  Triple salchow he steps out of the landing but does the combination.  Difficult entry into the double axel, which is cleanly landed.  Some interesting spinning at the end, a Biellmann and another step sequence that it appears he almost falls on.  Ugh, just not his night and not the best display of this program.  Frank Carroll tries to look happy.  He is not happy, I think.  102.94 for the free, 171.68 overall, seventh place.

Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan, music:  Zigeunerweisen):  This boy is only 15.  So I will go easy on the costume.  He does not skate like a 15-year-old.  Quadruple toe is wonderful.  Scream-worthy to the crowd.  Wow, that triple axel went far!  but the landing was not perfect, but clean.  Triple lutz is nice.  He does kick up a lot of snow on these landings but the jumps seem trotated and clean.  Interesting spin here if a little slow.  Ina Bauer, Triple flip/triple toe, both fine.  Quiet footwork here.  His feet look so big!  Heh...Wow, another triple axel and triple toe...I know this is not exactly an accomplishment normally in men's skating (to do two triple axels) but the skating has not been up to snuff this weekend so it's nice to see him complete both.  AND I jinxed him into popping his triple loop.  Sit spin is slow  here.  He has run out of steam for the final footwork sequence.  But wow he manages to get that triple loop landed!  Catchfoot spin at the end.  Very good job!!  I assume he will be in first place after that effort.  He looks sooo tired!  138.41 for the free skate, 207.72 overall, first for now.

Florent Amodio (France, music:  Broken, Apologize):  I love Florent. He is wearing a blue sequined shirt and suspenders.  And FINGERLESS GLOVES!  yay.  Florent is absorbing from the first note of music.  He is a performer, not just a skater.  And he lands a gorgous triple axel.  And another gorgeous triple axel/double loop.  Triple loop...his jumps can be so pretty.  Oh, scary face.  Don't mess with him during this dance break.  Some crazy footwork going on.  Not quite up to par with Takahashi but at least it's different from what we've been seeing.  Sit fine.  He needs a breather and he is ...taking one.  OH more Jackson.  I don't know about the crotch-grabbing but I guess it's in character.  Triple salchow/triple toe.  Triple lutz.  All of his jumps have been so easy so far.  Triple flip is also great.  Another triple triple.  This is a great skate.  Singles an axel.  More dancing and crotch grabbing.  Dude, when you are skating this well, you can grab whatever.  Some sort of funky chicken - FLORENT Thank you for bringing that back!  I have been WAITING.  He is obviously out of gas but not in a terrible way, because this is a fun skate.  Great, great job by Florent.  He is still dancing in the kiss and cry.  What a ham!  143.76 for the free skate, 213.77 overall, first place for now. 

Shawn Sawyer (Canada, music: Alice in Wonderland):  Triple axel but may have been two-footed.  Falls on next jump.  Triple lutz is fine.  Triple salchow is ok.  Sit spin has lovely arm positions.  Shawn is very aware of all of his positions.  Gorgreous spiral and beautiful positions here.  Triple loop is nice.  Triple flip, turn out, triple loop, great.  I like his step sequence, it's jarring like the music at the beginning.  I wish it had more speed but it's early.  Another clean triple.  Man does this boy have stretch...inside edge spins and catchfoot.  Another step sequence...this is very nice as well.  I wasn't sure I would like this program but I do.  Double axel double toe at the end are clean but not the prettiest.  Amazing spin at the end of the program.  Odd end to that music...kind of just stops but not with a major climax. Sawyer made me forget about his fall and minor other issues, I have to say that overall he had a nice presentation.  123.65 for the free, 193.80 overall for third.

Jeremy Abbott (USA, music:  La Vita e Bella): 
He is such a dapper fellow with his vest and tie.  I am always so excited to see Abbott skate, just though I would put that out there.  Triple lutz is good.  Triple flip is splendid.  Triple axel/triple toe loop are gorgeous.  How on is Jeremy!?  Step sequence is  nice but some of these moves seem like they are not quite there yet as far as how they are supposed to look.  Oh, but this is adorable!  yay.  Double axel at the end.  Abbott is performing, which i love.  Pops his axel, UGH.  Triple loop.  His sit spins are fantastic if slower than normal.  Triple lutz/double toe.  Something a tad off on the first landing.  Another beautiful triple and some great footwork until my computer freezes.  Very nice skate for Abbott.  Sad about that axel but everything else was lovely.  143.57 for the free and 218.19 overall.  First place...with one skater remaining!  At least the silver for Abbott!!!  (updated - Abbott was downgraded on a triple lutz and that hurt)

Daisuke Takahashi (Japan, music:  Invierno Porteno):  He looks like a vampire.  Starts off with a quad toe, lands it!  Not as pretty as his countrymate's was, but definitely looked good.  triple axel is clean.  Triple loop he definitely fights to hold the landing.  Has some crazy hair during the spin.  Too much gel like Evan Lysacek.  Now it's his first footwork sequence.  This is fabulous as always but the music is a turnoff for me.  It's almost overshadowing his skating, if that makes any sense.  This is much more melodramatic than last year's free skate.  Triple/triple is clean but not sure aout rotation.  Triple axle/double toe is great.  Triple lutz is gorgeous.  Pops a triple salchow...Not sure he's quite at home with this yet.  AND he falls on a combination jump after a triple lutz.  Another amazing footwork sequence at the end here.  I love Takahashi's skating so much but I don't initially love this program..the music makes my brain hurt.  So we'll see how I feel by the end of the season!  This one is difficult - he had the quad toe and two triple axels but he fell on a combination jump and he popped a salchow.  I would say neither he nor Abbott were quite as comfortable with their programs as they will hopefully be in a few months but Takahashi's was more..demanding, and there was more to see.  156.75 for the free skate, 234.79 overall. An easy win for Takahashi, but I really don't know how it was that big a difference because I am a spaz so I will have to look at the protocols.  Gold for Takahashi and Silver for Abbott.  And Florent Amodio a well-deserved bronze!


Full results after the jump:

FPl. Name Nation Points SP FS
234.79 1 1
2 Jeremy ABBOTT
218.19 2 3
3 Florent AMODIO
213.77 4 2
4 Yuzuru HANYU
207.72 5 4
5 Shawn SAWYER
193.80 3 8
6 Takahito MURA
191.85 9 6
7 Jialiang WU
189.58 8 7
189.41 11 5
9 Ross MINER
186.62 7 10
181.47 10 11
11 Jeremy TEN
176.48 12 9
12 Denis TEN
171.68 6 12