WINDSOR, Ontario -- Patrick Chan has new programs, new choreographers and new coaches. The two-time world champion will found himself in a familiar position at Skate Canada International after the short program.
The 21-year-old Canadian was second Friday night, tripling what was a planned quadruple toe loop, then touching a hand down on his triple Axel.
"You know the jumps. Jumps are jumps," Chan said. "They worked in the six-minute warmup, but it's so different doing it on the ice with five other guys on the six-minute warmup than being all alone on the ice by yourself, it's intimidating. I don't compete just enough to be comfortable with that yet."
Chan scored 82.52 points for his program choreographed by former world champion Jeff Buttle, and set to music by Rachmaninoff.
Spain's Javier Fernandez, coached by Canadians Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson, was the leader at 85.87 after landing a textbook quad toe loop. Japan's Nobunari Oda was third with 82.14.
In the pairs, if four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy didn't catch fans' attention by winning the short program, their bright, busy costumes did.
The Germans wore multi-color bodysuits that looked like something out of a modern art exhibit for their routine, to "Kismet" by Bond. Their score of 72.26 put them comfortably ahead of Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (64.49) and Italy's Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek (59.79) going into Saturday's free skate.
In the women's short program, Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia edged rising Canadian star Kaetlyn Osmond, 60.80 to 60.56. Ksenia Makarova of Russia was third with 58.56 points.
Reigning U.S. junior champion Gracie Gold was dismal in her senior debut, finishing ninth out of 10 skaters.
Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the Olympic and world ice dance champions, led by 0.01 points after botching a lift in their short dance. They scored 65.09 points for their program set to a waltz written by Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Italy's Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte were second, and Russians Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko third at 55.80.
Chan, whose seasons have been known to get off to slow starts, was third after a sloppy short program last year at Skate Canada before roaring back to win the title.
He blamed a lack of speed heading into his quad attempt Friday night, plus some choppy ice around the corners at the Windsor Family Credit Union arena.
"I think (tripling the quad) was less shocking than a fall," he said. "I think it's the first time ever I've popped in my program, it kind of hit me as I was going into the triple Axel. It's a difficult position to do that and then gather yourself to do a triple Axel. These are all things I'm learning.
"Even after four or five years on the circuit, there's still a lot of things to learn."
Chan's program was a noticeable departure from the ones choreographed by Lori Nichol. Chan left Nichol in the offseason to work with Buttle and David Wilson, who choreographs his free program. Chan also has a new lead coach in dance teacher Kathy Johnson after Christy Krall resigned as his coach the day after the world championships last March.
Chan admitted it took him a while to buy into his new programs, but said he was feeling his short program Friday night.
"It's a very quiet piece, it's very simple, it doesn't have many instruments, it just has a piano, so there's a lot of quiet moments in the music," Chan said. "I think as you get more mature and more experienced as a skater, that's the challenge, to make something beautiful out of nothing. To make something great out of just silence. Those little things are what separates you as a skater, and you have to have some kind of confidence and comfort knowing that during those subtle moments you can not make it awkward and make it comfortable. When I'm doing a lot of steps in the program, I have chills through my body."