Is there an equivalent Russian expression to "pot, meet kettle?" The biggest game of a world junior championship where Team Canada was put on the defensive about alleged dirty play turned on a boneheaded play by Russia's Valeri Nichushkin's. The 17-year-old forward got a five-minute major and game misconduct — which based on precedent, would keep him out of Russia's quarter-final game — for mashing Canada's Tyler Wotherspoon into the glass in the first period.
Meantime, Canada avoided going over the physical cliff in what is normally an emotional rivalry game. It wore down Russia but took only two penalties, both by Nathan MacKinnon (maybe it had something to do with being 17).
The talented Nichushkin has been impactful for Russia, particularly in their earlier win over Team USA. The upshot of a looming one-game suspension is that he would miss the quarter-final against not as highly regarded Team Switzerland rather than a semifinal with one of the powerhouses. For those scoring at home, should Nichushkin be shelved by the IIHF, that would even up the players suspended for Canada and Russia at 2-2.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (video: TSN).
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