Well, I'll start out with the easy pick. The hometown team and defending two-time World Champs are a safe bet here for the gold. Though Papadakis/Cizeron have only competed at a small event in France so far this season, I'd expect them to be skating well and getting good scores at home They were out most of the last season with an injury, so this will be an interesting season for them. Essentially, they haven't been beaten since their first World title, so can they can continue to stay at the top all season? Especially at NHK where they face Virtue/Moir?
The battle between Hubbell/Donahue and Gilles/Prioir will be an interesting one to watch here. Traditionally Hubbell/Donahue have placed the highest of the two teams, but the Canadians are coming off a surprise bronze medal at Skate Canada and Hubbell/Donahue's short dance has been getting mixed reviews this season. I almost see an upset brewing here? Alright, I'll pick the Americans for silver and Gilles/Prioir for third, but again I wouldn't be surprised if that was flipped.
I'm hoping Savchenko/Massot can hang on and skate consistently here. They have to skate two weeks in a row, but this team is so talented that I really want to see them make it to the Final. They should win in this field, but they are trying higher risk elements that could make them less clean. This team has so much potential, and they're my pick for gold this week.
I'm gonna be honest- I'm struggling to pick the rest of the podium, guys. Tarasova/Morosov have great scoring potential but the quad twist attempt that threw their whole long program off at Skate America makes me nervous. Also after a rough skate in Illinois, home team of James/Cipres could really use their two fantastic programs to catapult to a medal. AND Zabiiako/Enbert are coming off a good silver medal last week (though that was a weaker field and I don't find their skating that engaging). I'll pick the consistency of Tarasova/Morosov for second, and the home ice advantage for James/Cipres for third.
Also excited to see the faves Castelli/Tran skate again, Here's hoping they can finally nail a clean short here. I will be watching and tweeting! Enjoy skating a little extra this week!
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