Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Denney and Coughlin: The LP Debut

Denney and Coughlin are the readiest new pair the United States has ever seen.  If you believe the official line, that this all came together serendipitously right after Worlds, it is astounding that they'd have time for tryouts, relocation, organizing with choreographers and getting their unison together.  The USFSA is involved with helping skaters find partners.  Given the number of splits this year, many skaters were in discussions to find available partners and single skaters who were pair-curious (like bi-curious, once it become clear they have no chance of ever getting a lutz.)  The USFSA already sent out word that Denney was off the market prior to Worlds, as Delilah was quite involved with orchestrating this matching.  There was even a clandestine tryout prior to Worlds under the guise of Caydee visiting her less talented younger sister in the Springs.  We can't be sure if Delilah took a page from Moskvina's playback and gave this pair a bottle of wine and locked them in a bedroom, but we hear that that is 'allegedly' why they have a modicum of chemistry.  They have grown out Caydee's hair and attempted to rid her of her trailer trash tendencies in order to make us forget that she's not Caitlin, but the sequel is just never as good as the original.  The drama surrounding this split is already fading as Caitlin has found herself a hottie and the Canton drama took it up a notch.

Technically, this is a sound pair.  There is not much to hate on.  They do have that Rachael-Flatt-taste-in-your-mouth that we always have when watching Caydee.  It is clear that the only thing really going for Yankowskas and Coughlin were Caitlin, the Marina Zoueva Ave Maria program and his touching story about his mother.  Another year has passed, the tissues have dried, and now we realize that we just aren't that into Ginger Bear.  Good for him for getting a girlfriend and a partner.  How nice for them even to revisit Jenny and Todd's 'We're In Love' theme.

Denney and Coughlin will likely get an open Grand Prix assignment (which they are clearly gunning for.)  As for the rest of us, I think it may be time for Team Caitlin T-Shirts.


  1. I don't necessarily like to say a skater or team "own" a piece of music, but there are a few pieces of music for which there will always be comparisons. Bolero (T&D), Lyra Angelica(MK) and Nessun Dorma(S&Z) are the big three that come immediately to mind. It's a big undertaking for a pair team to choose this music, let along a brand new pair team. Thought they seemed even slower than Caitlyn & he were. He just seems to lumber across the ice to me now, I must have been distracted by Caitlyn, lol. Still though, I agree, they're technically sound and John's height really puts an exclamation point on their lifts - the last one in particular was unique & daring. But I'd still buy a Team Caitlin shirt anyday.

  2. Glimpses of goodness with the chemistry of a third-grader's baking soda volcano. The last lift looked like a cross between Meno/Sand's signature lift and the hummingbird lift that Inoue/Baldwin (I think) used to do.

    With all season ahead to polish, they should do well at Nationals.

    Also, LOVE the "pairs curious" comment. Every promising, graceful US girl who doesn't have a lutz or flip should be sent to pairs.

  3. The off-ice relationship helps their chemistry I suppose. It makes it all more believable. More so than the off-ice relationship, Denney has a mature physical presence (with or without the Yankowskas copycat hairstyle) and doesn't look out of place next to the romantic-natured Coughlin. Aside from the technical elements, there are of course the Rachael Flatt tendencies, but that's the staple of US pairs.

    What is puzzling is why Dalilah and whoever else had to be shady about this pairing. What would have been the harm in waiting until AFTER Worlds to start discussion/tryouts regarding Denney-Coughlin? Maybe they wouldn't have been ready to compete a solid long program in July, but they could have been ready by August or so, and... gasp... it would have actually been respectful to Caitlin as well as the Caitlin-John pairing as a whole. For goodness sake, Caitlin-John are the National Champions and were headed to Worlds... You would think Dalilah and company could keep their focus and attention on that. Caitlin had been at the Broadmoor rink for 4 years. It is highly sad to me that that wasn't good enough to gain her coach's full respect and attention leading up to a highlight moment of her career. (regardless of how late Worlds was scheduled). HECK, regardless of the amount of time Caitlin spent at the Broadmoor with Dalilah, she still deserved her coach's full attention and respect!

    You know, if Caydee-John were such a dream pairing and romantically intertwined as they would like us to believe, THIS ALL COULD HAVE WAITED UNTIL AFTER WORLDS. Nothing about this pairing NEEDED to be done before that, but for seemingly selfish reasons (what else could it be?!), they all seemed to go behind Caitlin's back well in advance to get this pair rolling. This plan could have EASILY backfired on them, as the Broadmoor is a busy rink and Caitlin could have gotten wind about what was occurring. This could have made Caitlin a wreck heading into Worlds and unable to concentrate. Then again, with this great Denney-Coughlin pair waiting in the wings, maybe Dalilah and co. didn't really care so much how Yankowskas-Coughlin were feeling leading up to Worlds, which is a shame. This whole situation really is a testament to Caitlin's great strength as a person and as a competitor.

    It is hard for me to not feel more sour about Sappenfield, since it's been alleged that she was arranging this pair before Worlds unbeknownst to Caitlin. Surely, Sappenfield probably wanted Denney-Coughlin to be ready like all her other pairs for Indy Challenge in late July... She wanted them to already be solid enough to earn the Skate America there and not have to take them separately to another competition when they were more prepared in August and Sept. It's easy to see why Dalilah would want to rush this new pair forward before Caitlin and John could even finish competing, but there was a MUCH better way to handle this ethically, in my opinion.

    To make matters worse, EVERY single time we have heard about this new team thus far, we have been told by Dalilah and/or John about how the Denney-Coughlin team magically just formed after Worlds, and how they've only spent x amount of weeks together (it's only Week 10 according to Dalilah!). You would think people who arranged a partnership in advance would try not to repeatedly shove a seemingly embellished portrayal of this situation down the readers' throats, as if we are all fools.

  4. With that said, Caydee and John's style of skating (rough around the edges but technically sound) works well together. If the pair is already ready for the Grand Prix/Worlds three or four months in, then it's a good match. I totally understand why Dalilah has tremendous faith in this pairing. The intl judges won't buy into it as much, but nationally, they are of course more than fine. Hell, they'll probably do fine at Worlds, too. It's not like there's much depth. I just think the situation was handled, and continues to be handled, like crap. I eagerly await the next article about how this pair just formed in mid-late May on a whim. :rolling eyes:

    As for the music, I hate the choices because it's such recently recycled music. And these choices are cop-outs for artistically-challenged skaters (ie. Flatt). As for how slow they are skating... I think the faster they skate, the worse their flaws may stand out. They need to skate faster though. As for more girls trying pairs- yeah right. A pairs partnership is more fickle than any girl's lutz or flip.

  5. I realize how clueless this makes me seem, but can someone tell me exactly what happened between Denney and Caitlin and why they split? I never understood it and obviously am a complete outsider. But it sounds like it is potentially juicy. Did he make plans to leave her well before worlds? Was it all him, or were they fighting?

  6. As a dancer I'm sad to say that this behind-the-back scheming to break a partnership after competition X is nothing new. It happened to Emily Samuelson too just this season and has happened to myself and several friends of mine. Sure it's ethically deplorable, but unfortunately it's the nature of the sport and some in it don't have the level of decency necessary to wait until after the season is over. Caitlin can be on to bigger and better things. I'm totally in on T-Shirts.

  7. I love this music but hate them skating to it.

    First of all, the edits to the music just make the piece feel droning and adds to the lumbering quality to their skating (which I hadn't noticed before). Worse than that is that there's zero contrast between the short and long having used two slow and romantic pieces. I really feel they should have a re-think about their long.

    Having sadi that, their twist is fab and so are their 3toes.

  8. Wait...were John and Caitlin MARRIED??? I thought they were skating partners! And as such could choose to be partnered with others if so desired.

  9. A more accurate analogy is that John and Caitlin were dating and then John (allegedly) cheated on her right before a big romantic vacation for which they split the costs, then broke it off - rather than breaking it off before seeing someone else, and going on that romantic vacation knowing that there's a reasonable chance that the relationship would not last. So, no, they weren't "married." Still, I would guess that, in Caitlin's (again, alleged, since I don't know all the details myself) situation, you'd feel cheated. No?

  10. The music cuts are rather terrible in both their short and long. Everything feels slow.

    The difference with Emily Samuelson is that her and Evan Bates WERE NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF PREPARING FOR WORLDS. It is the offseason, and Evan, like anyone else, can skate with whomever he wants. A skater may want to leave a partner to skate with a best friend, a girlfriend, a skater with similar type of goals, whatever. People change partners all the time, and there's not much wrong with that.

    The problem I see is the sneaking around to create a partnership... This could have waited another month or two until Caitlin & John's season was actually over. WHAT were the benefits in starting the Denney/Coughlin partnership before Worlds?.. So that they could be ready a whole 4 weeks earlier? So that Caydee could have a partner a whole 4 weeks earlier? It's just ridiculous. Have respect for the skaters with whom you're working at the present moment before you worry about pairing Denney with Coughlin. And if you can't wait that long, you have to tell Caitlin. And if you can't tell Caitlin, then it shouldn't be going on! This is common sense and decency. Starting in mid-late May would have given Denney&Coughlin plenty of time to try out and get ready for the season.

  11. That last lift looks so tacky. The position is weird. I'm trying to like this team but the music and choreography are not making it easier.

    I had read that Caitlin had tryouts scheduled. So did one of them work?

  12. What could be worse than skating to an already overused and iconic piece of skating music? Skating to it when it's orchestrated with a GUITAR. That is the whining sound producing the melody, yes? Or perhaps it's the love child of a sax and a synthesizer? Anyway, the choice of music is just incredibly lame, and because of that, it takes away from the totally decent qualities of this pair, considering they are "only in week 10." Granted, they look totally American, i.e. will barely crack top ten at Worlds. But perhaps they won't embarrass us. Still, Team Caitlin for Sochi!

  13. Ugh. I expected so much more when I went to watch that. Yes, they are more or less technically sounch, but they are so slow and so very unpolished. Flexed feet and lack of posture and extension show up in many places. That last lift is interesting, but the position just looks unfinished. I think it will continue to look unfinished unless she can get nearer a split position.

  14. um, please, this pair could finish top 6 in the world tomorrow. 7th and 8th in the world are Canadian teams that rival our American teams in terms of polish, extension, and flexibility.

    They are "in week 10" at the time of the Indy competition if you start counting from the day their partnership was announced (May 17th). I guess Dalilah wants you to believe they magically came together and started training on that date. lol. Why can't they just be more honest? If they were, I wouldn't be annoyed. They're pretty darn decent on their own without any added magical hype.

    I miss Caitlin's grace and elegance. blah. Hope her tryouts go well.

  15. LOL. Their "final unique lift" is just a copy of Volosozhar/Trankov's second lift (I think) in their LP. John thinks they are the second coming of V/T (lol), so I guess they decided the use the lift. The part when it starts to rotate is V/T's lift... It's just hardly recognizable (and not nearly as visually appealing) because Denney's back isn't up and she doesn't have the flexibility to pull off the catchfoot part.

    The music is strange, but it's nice they didn't use the exact same cut that Evora/Ladwig used last season. I actually think they have decent chemistry. The presentation is okay in parts, but only when they skate slow. They need to skate faster, but it will expose more of the weaknesses. Still, we are nitpicking because unless they have a meltdown, they should be a virtual lock for the US title.

  16. "Still, we are nitpicking because unless they have a meltdown, they should be a virtual lock for the US title."

    AAAAHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! That is not something I want to hear!