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BARCELONA - I love the Grand Prix Final because it is the top six qualifiers in each discipline from the six qualifying Grand Prix events. I love watching the practices where you can analyze and compare the skaters head to head against the seasons best. The competition is concentrated, streamlined and right to the point. The best six men to date, followed by the best six women, and so on. Its mid-point through the competitive season and we get a chance to look at where we stand. Canada will challenge for Gold in both Pairs and Ice Dance. Neither team goes in as the favourite on paper but both are capable of winning the title. Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford sit in the number 2 spot in the points race just behind Olympic Silver Medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia. They sit ahead of another Russian pair and three very strong and rapidly emerging Chinese teams. I sat rinkside in Osaka, Japan for Megan and Erics second Grand Prix and to watch their short program was to see them take their skating to the next level. Their confidence and ease with their elements was clear. They were a commanding presence on the ice and for me, it was their best skate ever both technically and emotionally. Their strategy has always been to go for maximum difficulty which often meant giving up some points for polish and quality. What was noticeable was the ease with which they did their side-by-side triple lutzes. This is not a jump that any other pair team attempts. They used to land them without points for style. In Japan their triple lutzes were totally in sync with clean and powerful entries and exits and full marks for quality for the difficult jumps. It will take a short program like they had in Japan coupled with a Free Skate of equal quality to upset the Russians who have looked so impressive and spot on this season. In the Ice Dance there are three teams that have, with points and wins, separated themselves from the rest. Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates have a marginal points advantage over Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje and the rapidly improving French team Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizerone. Weaver and Poje have missed some levels technically this season and hitting those levels will likely make the difference in their quest for Gold here in Barcelona. After the recent NHK trophy Andrew said, We did make a couple of mistakes that we definitely want to fix before the Final. They are known to improve and refine as their season unfolds and they will have to show that development here to come away with the win. Canada is showing its depth in Ice Dance at the Final with Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier also competing here, as well as two young teams who are in the Junior Final. Mackenzie Bent and Garret MacKeen, who train with Piper and Paul in Scarborough, and Madeline Edwards and Zhao Kai Pang, who train in Burnaby, each have a gold and a silver on the Junior Circuit and are contenders here. Its worth noting that not only are many Canadian Dance teams achieving super results they are also coming from training centres in Canada. It was the case, for many years, that the only way to get high level training was to leave home and move to another country. These top teams are staying and thriving and this bodes well for the young local talent coming up as the coaching and training sites for Ice Dancers in Canada are rapidly developing and excelling on the world stage. The Canadian pairs team of Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau are in the Junior Final as the highest ranked team. Their strong technical elements and their consistency have allowed them to outpoint the rest of the field by quite a margin. They are both strong single skaters and are a well matched pair, a combination that not only is giving them significant success on the Junior Circuit but will also be of great benefit to them in the future as they develop as a Senior team. 15-year-old Roman Sadovsky is Canadas lone entry in singles in Barcelona and he is another young skater to keep your eye on. He has strong basics and performance qualities well beyond his years which allow him to stand out. His triple axel is developing nicely in practice but yet to become a regular fixture in competition. He did not need it to get here, as his other fine qualities got him to Barcelona but it will be an element that he will have to master to vault in the standings and contend for gold. Rodney Hood Jersey.com) - The Boston Bruins announced Monday that the team has signed goaltender Niklas Svedberg to a one-year contract. Derrick Favors Jersey. 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Williams trailed late in the first set before ultimately taking a 7-5, 6-0 win over the unseeded Zvonareva of Russia. It was a rematch of the 2010 Wimbledon final between the two, a match that Williams won 6-3, 6-2. Fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion and last weeks Sydney titlist, took care of German Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-4. Meanwhile, sixth- seeded Agnieszka Radwanska dispatched Johanna Larsson 6-0, 6-1 to also move on in Melbourne. Serenas sister, Venus, who was a finalist at the 2003 Aussie Open, had a much easier time defeating fellow American Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-3. Tournament officials confirmed on Wednesday that the Williams sisteers pulled out of their doubles draw, but they did not specify a reason.dddddddddddd Slovak and 11th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova downed Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-0. American Madison Keys pulled a minor upset of 29th-seeded Casey Dellacqua with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win. 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