Still mourning over no more NHL 24/7 on HBO

Seriously, HBO, why couldn’t you have agreed to do the Caps again? They’ve had plenty of changes made since 2011; couldn’t you have found that interesting to examine?
Yes, there’s going to be two sets of 24/7 series done on some obscure TV network that nobody gets, and we may even all watch the clips from that on YouTube. But do you really expect that to be produced with half the skill that HBO has done it with? With closes like this one, which ended what was arguably the least impressive of the three seasons?

If they have any sanity, they’ll at least do all they can to get Liev Schreiber to narrate their own series. But I’m not holding my breath even for that.

Farewell, Li Na

Seems only yesterday since she broke through to the top and then won the French.
And certainly there’ll be other Chinese women still in tennis, women whose presence are her legacy us. Her first successor might have even just arrived at the US this year. But it doesn’t seem likely any of them will have the story or the humour of her. Those are much harder to find.

Dancing With the Stars, Season 19, Week 1, Results

The first non-finale Dancing With the Stars results show in three seasons starts with a number by the female pros, dancing on stage against a background almost as bright as they are.  Then we have a general recap of last night, with comments from multiple sources, including competitors from previous seasons who came to watch.  Then Julianne(of course) gets a chance to comment about her first night as a permanent member of the panel, before we start the results.  As has been the usual custom in recent season, they march couples out in small group to declare them safe or “in jeopardy.”

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Dancing With the Stars, Season 19, Week 1

Dancing With the Stars is certainly glad to have Len back: their opening montage starts with him!  Him and Bruno taking leave of the Queen and meeting up with the other judges, then the pros and the stars are all presented, and the montage segues into the opening number.  A quick reminder of there being a results show this week and of Julianne Hough now being a permanent judge and we’re off into the dances:

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Michael Weiss Foundation: 10th Annual Ice Champions Live

Missed last year’s show, so it was our first time in the new venue.  They seem to still be adjusting to it; the process of getting everyone in and seated was a mess.  Generally it seemed a similar place to the last venue.

The show, on the other hand, may well have been better than it’s ever been this year.  Weiss got a lot of good skaters, and they all really seemed to give their best, until it’s hard to pick standouts, but sticking in my memory particularly strongly right now:

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What a men’s competition!

I admit, when I accidentally slept through the entire free dances for both Salt Lake and Nagoya last night I especially wondered if I’d missed the best of the latter.  Certainly the ladies’ competition, apart from the top two, had been extremely unimpressive, and the men’s field after the short looked like one those cases where the podium were too much better than everyone else.  But then it turned out…well, I was more or less right about the podium, and while Dmitri Aliev established himself as a talented skater(but in today’s crowded Russian juniors, just making the JGP establishes that about a skater already) he’ll want better frees than the one he skated today/this morning.  But those top two!  The first two skaters on the circuit this year to break 150, and Jin crazily doing it without one of his spins!(It seemed missing spins was the trend of the day, though)  Though even with his three quads, you still kind of wish the winner had instead been the silver medalist, who merely rotated one.  But even with the other underrotated, Shoma Uno’s going to be the story of this competition, rocketing his way to almost the top of the junior scene, especially once he starts doing a triple axel to go along with those quads, and doing so with all his elements and artistry along with his jumps.  He may prove the best new Japanese man to come up from the juniors this quadrennium.  Maybe even the best Japanese skater to do so period.

And even among the lower ranks, there was a bit to be impressed by today, including not one, but two skaters who made history for their countries, and not just ones their parents came from for either of them.  Although one must admit that even if he was born in Argentina, Denis Margalik really is a Canadian skater; his skating really screams it too.  Not that this was a bad thing; I loved both his programs.  So perhaps the really impressive one is Julian Yee, who according to his bio even still spends much of his time Malaysia, though he also has a training base in China.  Also was much more impressed by Nicolas Nadeau here than I was at the Quebec Summerskate; he makes the program and even its vocals work when he’s skating well.  Also have to give props to the courage of Yaroslav Paniot just for finishing his program when very obviously injured, though one wonders if that was very smart of him…

The Figure Skating Season is Definitely Underway Now

Whose bright idea was it to have a competition in Utah and one in Japan on the same weekend?  The timing it terrible; there isn’t even a pause to take a proper nap in between when things in Salt Lake conclude for one day and things start in Nagoya for the next!  I’ve ended up missing a good deal simply due to nodding off or dozing longer than I intended.  Nonetheless, some observations on the season in general so far:

We though the overflow of young Russian skaters cause by pre-Sochi buildup was scary before, but the irony is, most of the results probably weren’t ready in time for the Olympics themselves; the kind of work they did has much more long-term results, and now we may be really seeing them.  Especially in the ladies, where looking at the rosters for the last three events?  My money would be Alexandra Proklova & Maria Sotskova splitting those up, though Leah Keiser may be the most likely spoiler of that(that the U.S. has only one spot per event makes this much easier for them, but I’m not sure who we’d have to send even if we had more).

So far, the vocal-inspired programs I’ve liked the most have been Elladj Balde’s Michael Jackson and Max Aaron’s Footloose(though I accidentally slept through his Gladiator).  Vocals suit the showmen(which Max seems to be smart enough to be turning himself into), especially the ones whose prior instrumental music wasn’t all that different from it.

We might have thought her a fluke at Nationals last year, but sorry everybody, Polina Edmunds is the real deal, and she’s rapidly retroactively validating her being sent to Sochi.  Meanwhile, Mirai seems to at least be looking for something new, which she needs, since she’s not going to go back to what she was when she was 15 and trying to leaves her as an echo of her former self, but she’s got a long journey ahead of her if she wants to return to the top.