Virtue and Moir, Osmond to skate as Canada trails strong Russian squad

Canada’s figure skating team adventure continues today, with the ice dance and ladies short programs. Team captains Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue will go first around 10:30 am ET, then 18-year-old Kaetlyn Osmond just after 11:15 am ET.

The Canadians are sitting in second place, with 17 points, after Patrick Chan, and pairs Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford finished their short programs two days ago.

Russia leads with 19, China trails Canada by two points.

SEE ALSO:  How the Olympic figure skating team event works

Unless things go horribly wrong for Canada tonight, the team will likely qualify in the top-5 for the free skates. This would mean the pairs skaters would be back on the ice after 12:05 pm ET.

Tonight is important. With Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko filling a team weakness, and ice dance couple Bobrova / Soloviev very good, the host nation could hold the lead through the shorts. More important than Tessa and Scott’s performance, which is likely to be strong, it will be Marystown, NFLD born Kaetlyn Osmond who will be critical. If Canada can go punch-for-punch with Russia in every other category, it is the home team’s Julia Lipnitskaia who could help them pull ahead.

OLY figure skating 20140223

That said, Osmond has the curious ability to lock-in to her performance and be spectacular. Her coach Ravi Walia said earlier this week that she was very calm in practice, even unaware of any Olympic distractions.

The Russian fans will be excited, they can sense their team is poised for something special. But it’s still early, Canada can silence the noise tonight with what they do on the ice.