Chan hams it up with new program

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:29 PM ET

MISSISSAUGA -- In Patrick Chan's jazzy new short program, he spends the entire number trying to impress a girl.

It doesn't take very long for him to pull out the biggest in his bag of tricks -- the quad jump that he didn't attempt at the Vancouver Olympics.

"Right at the start," the 19-year-old three-time Canadian figure skating champion and two-time world silver medalist said. "I have one planned in the short and one in the long (another Phantom of the Opera-themed skate with major tweaks)."

Chan knows the big jump is a risk -- quadless Evan Lysacek beat quad king Evgeni Plushenko in Vancouver -- but he didn't want to go through his career with any regrets and not landing one in competition.

Fellow Canadian Kevin Reynolds, 11th at the last worlds in Turin, has two quads planned for his short program this year and is hoping to make a little history, maybe at his first Skate Canada in Kingston.

Chan, who will skate to Paul Desmond's "Take Five" for his short program, was hesitant at first about the new choreography. He has stepped out of the usual classical mould and was worried about how it would be received.

"I know I'll look at other skaters' programs and think, 'that might've been too much,'" Chan said. "There's a fine line between looking sleek and relaxed and looking goofy and clowny.

"Clowny's a little too much. I worried at first what the other skaters (in Colorado Springs) would think but it's been a lot of fun. It's a different side."

Chan definitely debuts some acting chops.

"At one point, I have my arms around two girls and the boyfriend sees me and I get punched in the face," he said while adding he never got into a playground tussle as a kid because no one fought at his French-speaking school.

And who's the figurative girl he's thinking about on the ice while he's trying to pick up?

"Nobody," he said with a smile.

Olympic bronze medallist Joannie Rochette has opted not to skate the Grand Prix circuit but will compete at a pro-am in Japan this season. She has not made a decision on defending her Canadian title.

If she doesn't return, it'll leave Cynthia Phaneuf, who finished fifth at worlds, as the favourite and put Watford's Diane Szmiett into a potential podium position at nationals in Victoria.

"I'm sick of finishing fourth (the past two years)," said the 19-year-old from the Competitive Skating Centre of Strathroy. "I definitely want to be standing on the podium this time."

"It's wide open this year," Szmiett's co-coach Scott Rachuk added. "With Diane, the elements are there. All the tricks are there. It's just a matter of consistency. What she has to do is skate her long program cleanly (like she did at last year's Cup of China) every time."

In pairs, Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison return after a disappointing sixth at both the Olympics and the worlds. They spent the summer working with several different coaches because their head coach Annie Barabe had a baby.

"We came back because we felt like we were capable of more," Dube said. "If we achieve to the level we think we can be, maybe then, we'll move on."

"We definitely believe we can be one of the best pairs teams in the world," Davison echoed. "The hunger's still there. That's why I'm back."

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