The 2006 Olympic Champion also produced a strong triple Axel, but turned out on the landing of a triple Lutz out of steps. He previously doubled the Lutz in his short program at the 2009 Rostelecom Cup in October.
"Today it was not my fault," explained the skater at the post-event press conference. "After landing, my blade was caught in the tracing on the ice and I could not move freely to compensate for the rotational momentum. So I was just turned around and there was nothing I could have done. I have to say that the quality of the ice here is less than perfect. You could see puddles of water in the corners and besides the ice is somewhat brittle. But it's a valuable practice for everyone. It means that in the better conditions we will be able to skate even better."
Compared to his performance in October, the student of Alexei Mishin has improved the overall flow of his program to Concerto Aranjuez, as well as the speed of his spins. However, despite his record breaking score, Plushenko (who missed 1.5 weeks of training because of a meniscus injury) was rather modest in his assessment of himself.
"I think it was far from perfect," Plushenko elaborated. "I am satisfied with what I was able to do given the circumstances, and I am very grateful to judges for awarding me a bonus. But I have merely done my job here today. I'm satisfied, but I know that I can and should do better. My goal is to skate clean. I know that it is not easy, but this is what I hope to do at the Olympics. What I did today is not the way I want to skate at the Games, but I guess it is good that I have some things to on work on in the near future."
When asked about whether or not his victory at Nationals is a foregone conclusion, he admitted that he is fairly confident that he will be included in the National team for the European Championships and Olympic Games.