The men’s short programs are slated for this afternoon in Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum and with perhaps the deepest field in the figure skating competition a couple of the podium spots will be hard to predict.

One thing is for sure: the “bad boy” of skating from Russia Evgeny Plushenko is back with a vengeance and is undoubtedly the man to beat. He is the defending Olympic champion from 2006 and the silver medallist from 2002, three-time world champion and six-time European champion making him the most decorated skater in the field. We have already talked about his weak transitions (the stuff that goes on in between the elements) in fact he has as well and acknowledges that he sometimes gets rewarded more highly for this aspect than he should be. That said, he has enough going on in the technical side of his skating coupled with being the most consistent of all of the men which makes him the threat he is.

Who else will stand on the podium?

If it were a case of programs, there is no doubt in my mind that Canada’s three-time national champion, Patrick Chan would be there. The problem is that it comes down to the skating and Patrick has yet to really deliver this season as a result of both the tear in his left calf muscle and a bout of the flu in the fall sidelining him until HomeSense Skate Canada International at the end of November.

The possibilities are seemingly endless with names like France’s Brian Joubert Switzerlan’s Stephane Lambiel, the Japanese men: Takahashi, Oda and Kozuka and Americans Abbott, Lysacek and Weir among others.

It really will be a case of who stakes a claim in the short program as the first step towards the podium. In a season where the results have been very mixed and favourites have fallen off the radar as new stars, like the Czech Republic’s Michal Brezina have emerged it’s anyone’s guess.

Remember everyone, when it’s all said and done: It’s Figure Skating and not Figure Jumping.

Pj’s Podium Picks for Men:

Gold – Evgeny Plushenko – RUS

Silver – Nobunari Oda – JPN

Bronze – Evan Lysacek – USA

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