Takahiko Kozuka leads the way after his impressive 170-point free skate at Trophee Eric Bompard. Daisuke Takahashi is the reigning World Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist, but he's shown flaws in both of his events. Nobunari Oda might seem like the odd man out, but his short program scores actually lead all of the men this season. Trouble with figuring out the judging system on the fly once again cost him a gold medal, this time at Skate America-- versus Takahashi.
Patrick Chan of Canada will be the biggest threat to split up this party, but his Grand Prix showings featured eight (yes, eight) falls between the two competitions. He still scores extremely well on every element he does successfully complete, and his components are deservedly among the top scores of all the men. I'm not completely discounting Tomas Verner and Florent Amodio from their own spoiler party, but their numbers don't quite stack up to what the other four are capable of, at least not yet this season.
So, the big questions: Can Kozuka continue to build on the great season he has started, or will his nerves sink in when he realizes his position? Can Takahashi finally deliver a World Champion-caliber skate in Beijing? And can Oda once again rock the short program, and if he does-- can he hold it together for the free skate? Nobunari frustrates me so much when I see a perfect quad toe/triple toe/triple loop in warm-up, only for him to crash on the first jump when it actually counts. But then again, we all know the ice is slippery.