Colin Fraser, Martin Brodeur

The incredible story of Stanley Cup championship books already becoming “available”

When a sports championship is close to being determined, two amusing potential stories develop: 1) an Internet site features premature championship gear and 2) many of us wonder what happened to the T-shirts for the team that didn’t win a title. Chris Peters unearthed an amusing example that sort of blends those two fun go-to stories together, as an Amazon search reveals that the “books” on 2012 Stanley Cup finals victories have already been “written.”

Peters’ findings prompted me to search “The Incredible Story of the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions,” which produced these two results (screen captured in the likely scenario that they’re taken down):

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Now, I was just about to wonder aloud if the 10 limos parked outside Staples Center weren’t the only things guilty of jinxing the Los Angeles Kings, yet Peters generated another search that exonerates Amazon/book publishers from at least that charge.

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Triumph Books is the publisher for at least the would-be Rangers book and the could-be Kings yarn. While the Rangers’ version features The New York Post as “the corporate author,” its Amazon page doesn’t provide any more info. The Kings’ page doesn’t include a clear “author” yet, but there is this blurb.

This commemorative book on the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings provides a visual look at the team’s road to championship glory. Through unique words and images, this celebratory book takes readers from the season’s first games and on through the 2011–2012 NHL season and exciting playoff run. Including color photographs and profiles of the Kings’ star players and the head coach, this keepsake book is an essential part of any fan’s collection.

Naturally, I had to find out a little more about Triumph Books (here is their Web site). Their NHL section is robust (Theo Fleury’s momentous memoirs are available, for one) and their About Us section tells it all.

Triumph Books’ dedicated sales and editorial staffs also allow the company to publish instant titles books written, designed, printed, and shelved in stores often within a week of an event with the accuracy, timeliness, and style that few publishers can match.

Considering the fact that there were hypothetical books for the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Rangers along with the two finalists, Triumph can probably wash their hands of any ridiculous “jinxing” accusations. (We’ll try to find out if this amusing incident is more of a “blunder” by Amazon than anything else.)

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a harmless, fun and weird little window into the world of sports book publishing.

Come to think of it, I must admit that it would be kind of cool if Triumph started printing books for beloved non-champions, too. Can I put in a request for the Charles Barkley-led Phoenix Suns team that almost won a championship first, then? (Can’t get enough “Thunder Dan.”)

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    Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

    Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

    With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

    It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

    Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

    The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

    Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

    If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

    Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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    Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

    An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

    After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

    You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

    Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

    Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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    Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

    Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

    Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

    Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

    Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

    An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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    Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

    Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

    Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

    Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

    “It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

    Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

    People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.