Speaking of GPF fields that are meh this season, pairs probably tops the list here. With so many big names out of the series, the gold will likely go entirely uncontested. The only points of interest for me are watching the progress of the new Chinese pair teams and how Seguin/Bilodeau will do with their SBS jumps here after almost missing the Final.
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford should easily win here after Savchenko/Massot withdrew with an injury. They had a messy free skate at NHK, so I am sure they will be looking to skate better here. Though they tend to skate better when they compete against better teams, it would take a near disaster for them to not win the gold here. Their numbers are just too high.
As a new team this season, Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang actually showed the most consistency of any team at this event. Their only real mistake was an uncharacteristic fall from Zhang on a side-by-side jump. With the Germans out of the Final, I actually think they have the best twist and throws of the field, in terms of quality. If they can keep up the consistency, they will make the podium here. I pick them for silver.
While I find their program choices to be entirely unmemorable. Evgenia Tarasova/Vladmir Morosov have upped the technical ante this season with their quad twist. (AND Their 3T is just gorgeous). One 4Tw attempt went awry, and the other was pretty good. They'll need a good attempt here for the bronze medal.
The only reason I am not picking Seguin/Bilodeau for the podium here is because of the harder (and riskier) side by side jumps that they are trying this year. They just haven't been consistent. I think they made a good choice in going back to last year's short program and that they deserve better PCS than the Russians, but they need to be clean for third. It's definitely not out of the question for them, however.
I love Peng/Jin's short program this year, and they're my pick for fifth because of their chemistry as a team. Zabiiako/Enbert have a nice opportunity to compete here, but they don't quite have the quality of the rest of the field in my opinon.
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