Jeffrey's re-Buttle

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- It required a re-Buttle. Jeffrey Buttle skated so poorly he was swearing at himself, talking as if he'd blown yet another chance to be Canadian champion and would be coming back today to simply make sure he made the team to the World Figure Skating Championships.

Incredibly, he ended up first on the nightmarish night of skating and a search-party had to be send out to find him for his ... well his re-Buttle.

"I'm not happy at all,'' said the Barrie, Ont. skater, who doubled out of a triple Axel and fell on a triple Lutz in the men's short program at the Canadians here last night.

"What pisses me off most is it had to be here in Canada,'' he said of the mess he made.

He did everything but concede Emanuel Sandhu the title, blaming himself for not coming through in the clutch in Canada yet again.

"Obviously winning the national title would have been a great thing but my goal is to make the world team.''

Twenty minutes later, after Sandhu had soiled the sheets to the extent of finishing fourth in the short program, there was great need to bring Buttle back to meet with the media again.

He ended up sitting first going into tonight's free skate final with 105.28 points. Sandhu, who won the qualifying competition, sits second at 99.32. "Obviously, I'm surprised,'' he said in his re-Buttle.

"I guess I was the better of the not so great. But that's not so great to say,'' he said of second-rate skates which included Edmonton Royal Glenora's Ben Ferreira doing a double-double combination to slip to fourth place but hardly out of it going into the free skate final.

"I'm happy with my result but I am not happy with my performance.''

Sandhu, historically, has performed well at Canadians, the result usually being a big build-up for a large letdown to follow at Worlds.

He's won the last three Canadian titles.

Viewed as a much more consistent skater internationally, Buttle has been a bust at home, finishing third, second and third in the last three nationals.

Sandhu stumbled out of the quad but managed to get the second half of the combination, a triple-toe. But then he made his major mistake, popping what was supposed to be a triple Axel into a one-rotation jump.

"I have to get back on my horse,'' said Sandhu of bouncing back tonight. "I have to make sure I don't make a mistake like popping my Axel again.

"It's not over,'' he said.

Sandhu could probably have scored better on the new scoring system if he'd done triple-triple and dropped the quad. Buttle doesn't do one. Ferreira didn't have one scheduled either.

"Why downgrade myself?'' he asked.

"The only way he's going to stand on the world podium is if he hits the quad,'' said coach Joanne McLeod.

Both suggest that one of the things wrong with the new points per element concept of the new judging system is that the quad somehow seems to have been devalued.

"That needs to be changed. It needs to be worth more,'' said Sandhu.

Buttle was more concerned with Buttle than any big picture discussions.

"Last year there were circumstances out of my control,'' he said of skating despite recovering from food poisoning at the event in Edmonton last year. "I feel fine here. I've always struggled at Canadians. It's something I have to learn to deal with. It's a huge deal for us. I've been coming here since I was 12 years old,'' said the 22-year-old.

"It's something I have to get over.''

He has 24 hours.

"Hopefully I can use this anger.''


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