Universal Sports reports on Caydee Denney and John Coughlin's debut at the Liberty Summer Skating competition in Aston, Pennsylvania last night. The pair is skating to "East of Eden," which is one of my faves, so they had that going for them. The article says that the technical goods were not as much of a surprise as the "polish and refinement" of the team.
Skating to "East of Eden," a popular choice made famous by Michelle Kwan and resurrected last season by Rachael Flatt, Denney and Barrett showed off a softer, more delicate look than many expected - described as "very elegant, very tender" by coach Dalilah Sappenfield. Denney's posture has improved and the team's chemistry was evident, even just a few months into their partnership.
The duo easily won the short program with a score of 58.00, more than eight points ahead of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir in second. The team from Boston, fifth at 2011 Nationals, debuted a new short program to "Phantom of the Opera."
Here is a video of the short program. It's a very nice program and the skating is impressive, especially considering how early in the season it is and how short an amount of time the pair have been together. It was a little creepy how Caydee Denney appears to be Yankowskas-fied. And by that, I mean her hair and costume are very much what one might have seen on Coughlin's prior partner, Caitlin Yankowskas. And, as mentioned above, her posture has improved. I can't help but think that Yankowskas and Coughlin performing the program would have been nicer than Denney and Coughlin performing it. BUT, ignoring those (misty, water-colored, 2010-2011 season) memories, and the unfair comparison, I would say that these are two people who look good skating together and hopefully this will emerge as a strong pair this season. It is nice to see Denney skating with someone like Coughlin, because he really adds so much to the pair, rather than Jeremy Barrett, who, I think, maybe held Denney back a bit, stylistically at least.
Denney and Coughlin will not be skating their free skate here because they want to debut it later. The free skate is choreographed by ice dancing coach Marina Zoueva.