No one would blamed fans in Ufa for dropping their "Shibu" chant for a Russian word meaning "survive."
Or in not so many words after Russia played with fire but edged Switzerland 4-3 in a shootout in the world junior championship: remember, it's Team Russia. The world junior championship host had another shaky, near-disaster quarter-final before the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies' Nikita Kucherov — christened Kucherble by the hockey Twitterati — saved them. Kucherov tied the game on the power play, then bested goalie Melvin Nyffeler in the fifth round of the shootout.
Now the temptation is to infer vulnerability within Team Russia. Being sucked into a fight by Switzerland, a legitimately good team, was not a fluke. Switzerland had a 44-37 edge in shots on goal and it arrived in Ufa with a body of work that shows it can play with any hockey superpower. If it could have executed at all in the shootout, it would playing Sweden on Thursday instead of Russia in the semifinal (8 a.m. ET/5 a.m. PT, TSN). Russia is definitely beatable, but one shouldn't read much into this result since they always make a task of the quarter-final. They have gone to overtime four years in a row at the WJC.Read More »from World junior championship: Read nothing into Russia making a riddle of quarter-final games