Wednesday, April 21

2011 Grand Prix Series: Who Gets the Spots? - Men

I posted my thoughts about the ladies last night, and here are my guesses for the men. This is very difficult to predict as there are many skaters who are questionable as to whether they will compete next season; among them: Evan Lysacek, Evgeny Plushenko, Johnny Weir, Samuel Contesti, Alban Preaubert, Ryan Bradley, and Shawn Sawyer. Until I have a high level of confidence that any of them WON'T be back next year (Weir, Plushenko), I'll include them in my predictions for spots. Kevin Van der Perren said the 2010 Worlds would be his last competition, so I didn't include him. Stephane Lambiel has obviously already retired and skated professionally, and Stefan Lindemann and Kristoffer Berntsson have also retired. 

All top 12 men from the World Championships automatically earn two events, taking up 22 of the 72 spots, as Van der Perren has retired. Those men are the following:
Daisuke Takahashi 
Patrick Chan
Brian Joubert
Michal Brezina
Jeremy Abbott
Adam Rippon
Samuel Contesti
Adrian Schultheiss
Takahiko Kozuka
Kevin Reynolds
Javier Fernandez

The rest of the men in the ISU top 24 World Rankings and top 24 Seasons Best list are guaranteed one event, most of them probably ending up with two.
Evan Lysacek - obviously two events if he chooses to compete. He's number one on the World Standings, oh and he has this thing called the Olympic title
Tomas Verner - two events. He had a terrible season this year, but he's still 3rd on the World Standings thanks to all of the internationals in which he competes. I'd think he's coming back..
Nobunari Oda - two events. Disaster World Championships is an understatement, but 5th in the World Standings and strong finish at the Olympics
Alban Preaubert - two events. Strong World Standing and good placement at Europeans; also a host nation skater. All of this, of course, if he decides to keep skating
Yannick Ponsero - two events. Same as Preaubert, except in his case, I'm pretty certain he's not anywhere near retiring
Johnny Weir - I'm guessing he's moved on to other endeavors
Sergei Voronov - two events. Weak showing at Europeans and the Russian federation dumped him from the big events, but he's still one of the best from the country, and still ranked high in the World Standings
Nan Song - two events. World Junior silver medalist and showed he could compete with the senior guys with a strong showing at Four Continents. The highest Chinese man there, and probably leading the way for the next four years
Denis Ten - two events, even though all-around he probably wasn't thrilled with his season. Still 18th in the World Standings
Yuzuru Hanyu - two events. Won everything possible on the junior circuit this season, and should definitely be ready to move up and start challenging
Artur Gachinski - two events. Even though I think he has a lot of work to do, he made the Junior Grand Prix Final the last two seasons and was on the podium at Junior Worlds this year. Not much more he can do on that scene..
Brandon Mroz - two events. Not as impressive in 2010 as the prior season, but still within the top 24 in the World Standings, and had a good showing at Four Continents. 
Alexander Majorov - I'm going to guess two events. You're probably thinking, "Who?", but he's in the top 24 in the World Standings, and with all the question marks as far as some of the top skaters and whether they will compete, he should receive two
Evgeny Plushenko - I'm guessing he will disappear until the 2013 Grand Prix series
Tatsuki Machida - two events. Surprise silver medalist at Four Continents and comfortably in the top 24 Seasons Best scores 

World Junior and Junior Grand Prix Final medalists not already qualified by World Ranking or Seasons Best lists are assured one event if they move up.
Ross Miner - two events if he moves up. He was on the podium at the Junior Grand Prix Final, so I'm guessing he will

If you're keeping track, that's only 50 of the 72 spots available for Grand Prix events.

The other men that I'll predict to fill out the rosters.
Ryan Bradley - apparently 2010 was it for him
Artem Borodulin - two events. Skated extremely well at the Olympics but had the misfortune of breaking his blade at Worlds
Florent Amodio - two events. Beat out the higher-ranked Ponsero and Preaubert to go to the Olympics and Worlds, and had respectable showings in both for his first time out
Shawn Sawyer - two events. He's another question mark for me whether he will continue, but he's from a host nation and the third-highest Canadian in the World Standings
Richard Dornbush - two events. Ages out of the juniors and qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final the last two seasons
Grant Hochstein - two events. I have a feeling his strong finish at US Nationals will get him a Skate America invite, and he should probably be assigned another
Yasuharu Nanri - possibly retired after the 2010 season
Jialiang Wu - one event. Decent at Four Continents but a lot of blown opportunities in the past for him
Keegan Messing - I'll guess he stays junior
Jinlin Guan - two events. An artistic Chinese skater?! Respectable showings at Four Continents and Worlds, but won't move up much without gaining a triple Axel
Stephen Carriere - one event. Still decent on the World Standings and Seasons Best, but disappointing at Nationals

That's 64 of 72. The rest is just a guess, but I'll go for most of the following with one event each:
Anton Kovalevski
Armin Mahbanoozadeh
Paolo Bacchini
Jeremy Ten
Viktor Pfeifer
Vaughn Chipeur
Joey Russell
Jamal Othman
Peter Liebers



Tonichelle said...

GO KEEGAN! Alaska represent!

as for Bradley - he stated last season that last year was it.

Tony said...

Thanks, I edited to reflect that. :)

Anonymous said...

I think 4 CC was Nanri's last event as well.

Tony said...

Really? Eh, I guess he's 24 and moving down the rankings in Japan. Does he have something else he's going to transition into?

Trewyn said...

There's an IN article (the inside edge) where Bradley states he has not yet decided on retirement yet. It was always his intention that he retire after this season, but he might be hungry for just a little bit more...

You said you think Grant Hochstein might be invited to SA; could you expand on that? Which other skaters (Mens, Ladies) do you think SA will want for the event?

And will TEB be a competition avoided by the top guns because it's too close to the final? Technically there has to be 1 of the 1-3 placements and 1 of the 4-6 placements at Worlds or something, right?

I love GP anticipation; I know it's totally pointless because we will just get the list at some point; but still, it's fun.

Meri said...

Re the French men, Ponsero didn't go to the pre-Worlds test skate, which basically amounted to giving his federation the finger. The FFSG and Gailhaguet don't strike me as very forgiving, so I wouldn't be surprised if Ponsero ended up retiring - he's mentioned before it's getting hard for him to combine skating and his studies (physiotherapy). No idea about Preaubert, he's in graduate school but can probably still do events in Europe without it being too much of a hassle.

Van der Perren has hinted he might not be done yet, but I don't think he'll be doing GPs - maybe Europeans.

Tony said...

Trewyn- I had a feeling Ryan would want to go out with a healthy end to his career, so I wouldn't be surprised if he has changed his mind.

As far as Hochstein.. I definitely don't know any inside news about the Grand Prix, but I really enjoy his style and I think the USFS would be eager to push him.. he finished 7th at Nationals. If I had to guess who the USA sends to Skate America, it would be Nagasu, Zawadzski/Gao, and someone like Angela Maxwell in the ladies, while in mens I'll go for Abbott, Miner, and Hochstein. If Lysacek competes, I'm sure they will want him there, but I just don't think he will. When is he going to get time to start choreography and training for the fall? He's going to be worn out! Again, like I said, total guesses.. I have no idea as far as other countries' skaters.

And yes, TEB will feature one skater from the top 3 at Worlds and one skater from the top 6. So Joubert and then Brezina/Abbott/Rippon.. I'd have to guess Michal will get it.

I also love Grand Prix anticipation. We can be dorks about it together :-)

Meri- I heard the whole story about Ponsero not taking part, but I don't think that it was really a finger to the Federation. He just saw it as Joubert's showing that he needed to be tested before Worlds (even though he would get the spot), and didn't want to travel to skate in some test when he thought his year was already over and probably hadn't been training his hardest. But yeah, I guess the Federation might not be too pleased. In any event, he's still relatively young, even if he's always a headcase in one portion of the competition.

And now Van der Perren might not be done either? Retiring is so out of style these days :)

Meri said...

Ponsero reportedly said at the time that the whole thing was stupid and pointless, which was probably not politically astute for a skater already losing favor. He's a year younger than Preaubert and two years younger than Joubert - so not that young. His long-term goal is to be involved in sports as a physiotherapist, so maybe he's ready to focus on that.

I suspect that van der Perren will skate forever.

I'm not so sure Brezina will get TEB. He's been beating Joubert on TES throughout this past season, and with Joubert's tendency to struggle on home ice, they might want someone else there. I wouldn't be surprised if Rippon were to be chosen.

I love being an off-season skating dork! What else is there to do, NBA playoffs? (:

Trewyn said...

About Kevin; I'm pretty sure that he won't do the GP. He said he *might* do Euros. He's just keeping his options open because he's anticipating 2012 euros to be in England and since his marriage that's as close as he'll ever get to skating in front of a home crowd in senior international competition. Plus he used to always train together with Jenna; and she's not yet thinking about retirement (not publicly anyway); so he's probably considering it because he might feel like training for euros together with her. But otoh it'd be good for him to go out on such a high note. We'll have to wait. But I don't think he was ever a big fan of the GP so I don't think we'll see him there. What about the other Belgian guys? Jorik made the freeskate at Europeans I think? But that's probably not enough to get a GP event...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the commentator said 4 CC would be his last event, but I can't find the video/articles to be sure, but someone posted in FSU that he was.

I think he had a hard time coming back from his hip surgery. No idea what's next for him though.

Cassie said...

Just out of curiosity, if Weir and Plushenko DID compete this coming season how many spots would each get?

Tony said...

They'd definitely get two each.

As far as the other guys from Belgium, they don't have any chance of getting a GP assignment..

And Meri, that's a very good point about Brezina and Joubert..then again, if Rippon can start skating "bigger", I think he could also be in the same boat as Michal..

Anonymous said...

Where did you hear that Kristoffer Berntsson has retired? I am not so sure about that as Sweden has two spots both in Euros and Worlds next season.

Anonymous said...

There is Alexander Majorov as well so if Kristoffer Berntsson decides not to retire there will be three candidates for the two spots...

Tony said...

I thought I read that Berntsson was done after this year. He's 27 now, so he probably won't last that much longer. Then again, since Schultheiss did get back two spots for Sweden at Worlds, he might try another year. Majorov is moving his way up the ranks, though, and will probably be a pretty serious challenge if Berntsson does stay in.

Anonymous said...

It's official that Kristoffer continues since he still enjoys competing and practicing. His goal is to beat his 9th place from worlds 2007. An extra bonus is worlds 2011 being in Tokyo/Japan, where he has many fans. The Swedish federation is happy with his decision and will do everything to support him. 3 guys compete for two spots then; good for them and for Sweden.

Kristoffer will receive at least one GP event, right?