MOSCOW -- Maxim Kovtuns two confident quads gave him a big lead after Fridays short program in the Rostelecom Cup, the last of six Grand Prix events before the final. Gaylord Perry Jersey . As the only competitor to try two quads, much less complete them, Kovtun ended the day nearly nine points ahead of Japans Tatsuki Machida, who opened with a clean quad but then stepped out of the triple toe loop that was the second jump in his combination. Javier Fernandez of Spain was in third despite falling on his quad. In the womens short program, Russian Julia Lipnitskaia was in the lead, followed by Carolina Kostner of Italy, the 2012 world champion. American teammates Agnes Zawadzki and Mirai Nagasu were one-hundredth of a point apart at third and fourth, though well behind the two leaders. Kovtun is gunning for the sole Russian mens slot in Sochi, which Turin Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko also wants. Plushenko was to have been part of the Rostelecom field, but withdrew from what would have been his first top-tier competition since back surgery this spring. Plushenko blamed his withdrawal on a knee injury. "I was interested in trying my strength against such a fantastic skater," Kovtun said. "But I hope I will have another chance at Russian nationals." Kovtun was strong throughout his flamenco-themed program, the only notable flaw that he was almost sitting on the landing of his second quad to keep his balance. Machida, who won gold at Skate America, lamented that he was not in good condition in Moscow, but said its not clear whats troubling him. "Actually, I dont know," he said when asked about the specifics. Fernandez, the European champion and world bronze medallist , expressed satisfaction despite his fall. "I think I just had a little problem in the pattern and I just need to keep my mind clear," he said. All four of the top women did triple-triple combinations. But Lipnitskaia landed a more difficult triple lutz-triple toe combo while Kostner, Zawadzki and Nagasu all did triple toe-triple toes. In pairs, four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy led after the short program, followed by Russians Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov and Canadas Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch. Lipnitskaia, who won gold at Skate Canada, will qualify for the Grand Prix final with a medal of any shade in Moscow. Kostner would qualify with a gold, but Zawadzki, after a seventh-place finish in the Cup of China, is out of contention. The top six skaters in each discipline qualify for the final, which is Dec. 5-8 in Fukuoka, Japan. Lipnitskaias program began on a mysterious note, with her crouched down and drawing figures with her finger on the ice. Asked what thats all about, she chose to keep the meaning hidden. "Everyone can see what he wants to," she said. But once she rose from the crouch, the 2012 junior world champions program was crystal-clear: a clean triple-triple, a precisely landed double axel and a very fast combination spin at the end. The veteran Kostner, who said she is contemplating retirement after the season, said she was soothed by being back on the ice at Moscows Luzhniki Small Arena. The arena was the practice rink for the 2005 world championships, where she won her first world medal, a bronze. "It feels very special," Kostner said. "Its funny to see so much time has passed." The top pairs all struggled, notably Savchenkos hard fall on a throw triple axel, a challenging move that the pair daringly puts almost at the end of their program when their energy has flagged somewhat. "Its a risky element," Szolkowy acknowledged. "We tried it in several positions; we found at the end it is best." Bazarova put her hand down on the pairs opening triple toe loop and landed awkwardly on the throw triple loop, but said it was all an improvement over last weeks Trophee Bompard, where the pair was fourth. "Today, we got the maximum levels," she said. Moscovitch took his fall in stride, saying, "I was working on some yoga positions on the landing." Jeff Brantley Jersey . Prado stuck his glove down with Colorados Charlie Blackmon sliding into the bag, and quickly jumped back in pain after applying the tag. Prado held his left wrist as trainers came out of the Diamondbacks dugout to check him. Custom San Francisco Giants Jerseys . Jamies number grades given are out of five, with five being the best mark. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings (3) - Early goal against was on the power play.SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- For anyone figuring Vernon Davis has some catching up to do during training camp, quarterback Colin Kaepernick has no concerns. The star tight end joined the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday after sitting out the off-season program and mandatory minicamp hoping for a new contract. "It feels great!" Davis said in a text message. "I miss these guys." Teammate C.J. Spillman first posted video of Davis arrival in the locker room. "Always great to have Vernon on the field. He looks good, excited to have him back out here," Kaepernick said. "Vernons a Pro Bowl tight end. Hes one of the best in the league. Theres not going to be too much of a fall off for him. I dont think anyones concerned about that. Were just happy hes here." Right guard Alex Boone was still a no-show as expected while he also seeks a deal with two years remaining on his contract, just like Davis. The 49ers, who lost in the NFC championship game to Seattle, hold their first full practice Thursday. The 30-year-old Davis, who had 52 catches last season and matched his career high with 13 touchdowns, typically takes about a month off following the season before he starts training again full time. He said he worked out on his own, running hills in the area. Kaepernick figured Davis would arrive on time because "Vernon is not the type of person that is going to walk out on his team like that." Boones arrival, however, could take longer. That could provide more reps on the offensive line for newcomer Jonathan Martin, who might see more time at the guard spot as he transitions in his first year with the Niners. Martin was acquired in a mid-March trade from Miami, providing him with a fresh start after his departure last October following a scandal in which he accused teammate Richie Incognito of bullying. Martin, fellow offensive lineman Adam Snyder and several others were among the first in the ice baths following their workouts Wednesday. Boone has played a key part in a vastly improved, close-knit offensive line. Atlee Hammaker Jersey. "Love to have him here but not going to speak on another mans business," Kaepernick said. "Thats his personal decision." As the 49ers begin another season after coming so close, defensive lineman Justin Smith acknowledged the motivation of chasing another championship in a division featuring two meetings with the Seahawks -- including on Thanksgiving night in new Levis Stadium. "You know what they do, you know the team they are," Smith said. "Theyre good, theyre the defending champs." Smith revealed he played all of last year with a shoulder injury sustained in training camp that eventually needed a clean-up procedure in the off-season. He will evaluate after the season how many years he might keep playing. "Im playing this year, thats all Im focused on," he said. "I feel healthy compared to last year. This is it. This is the one Im thinking about. This is the one our teams thinking about." Now, everybody is ready to begin again and do big things. "Its always motivation when you dont finish the season the way you want to," Kaepernick said. "I think this team has the talent, we have the coaching staff to win a Super Bowl, and now its just time to go out and do it." NOTES: In a procedural move, San Francisco placed LB NaVorro Bowman on the active/physically unable to perform list as he works back from torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee and underwent surgery. He is expected to be out at least half the season. ... RB Frank Gore said isnt thinking of his 10th year in the NFL as a farewell season at age 31. "No, Im coming in to get ready to try to have a great year, try to do whatever it takes to help my team get to the Super Bowl and win a trophy," said Gore, coming off his seventh 1,000-yard season and third straight. "Thats how I approach it every year." ' ' '
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