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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    Ovechkin shrugs off Caps’ Game 1 loss in very Ovechkin way

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    You know, it happens. Maybe not always in those exact words.

    The Washington Capitals carried the play during portions of their 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and even down 1-0 in the series, just about every player seemed happy with their overall game.

    (Granted, Braden Holtby picked apart two of the three goals he allowed, and so on.)

    Still, Alex Ovechkin shrugged off the disappointment in a way that wasn’t quite Rated R, but probably ranks in the PG-13 range:

    The penalty element is interesting, though.

    When asked after the loss about the lack of power plays, Matt Niskanen merely offered a “no comment.”

    The Penguins experienced some sprawling moments, yet they avoided taking a penalty each time. Often, when a team carries long sequences of play, they’ll go on the PP (especially with home-ice advantage) … but not the Capitals in Game 1.

    via Natural Stat Trick

    It’s a situation to watch as the Capitals hope to even the series against the Penguins with Game 2 coming on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. (You can watch online, via the NBC Sports App and follow the livestream here).

    Holtby takes blame for two big goals in Caps’ loss to Pens

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    It’s just about a consensus that the Washington Capitals believed that they generally played a strong game despite falling 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Braden Holtby‘s teammates likely wouldn’t agree with his assessment that the Game 1 loss is on his shoulders, but the perennial Vezina candidate took the blame for Sidney Crosby‘s first goal of the night and Nick Bonino‘s game-winner.

    Noting that the Penguins are a dangerous rush team – making them a different threat than the Toronto Maple Leafs – Holtby believes that he should have had his glove in position to stop the 1-0 goal. He said he’s capable of making such a stop and “will next time.” Check out Crosby’s two goals below, with Holtby having a beef with the first one:

    It’s really difficult to place too much blame on Holtby for giving up Nick Bonino’s game-winner, as it seemed like a great rush play that few goalies would be able to stop.

    Judge for yourself in the highlights:

    The Penguins were ultimately able to take a 1-0 series lead, but the Capitals seem capable of shrugging off questions about frustrations, even with naysayers starting to gain confidence in claiming that there will be more than the same.

    If Washington’s going to get over this big hurdle, Holtby is likely to be a big part in doing so.

    Fleury, Penguins hang on for Game 1 win against Capitals

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a 3-2 Game 1 win against the Washington Capitals, but Thursday’s thriller probably prompted a sigh of relief.

    (Washington, meanwhile, might have uttered a sigh at such unpleasantly familiar feelings.)

    The first period ended 0-0 in part thanks to Jake Guentzel‘s sprawling “kick save.” Business really picked up in the second after Sidney Crosby raced off to two quick goals, only for Alex Ovechkin to give Washington a shot thanks to a booming goal and some physical play.

    It sure felt like this one might head to overtime, especially after Evgeny Kuznetsov was tying things up and flapping his arms like wings. That was not to be, however, as Nick Bonino took advantage of a pretty area pass to beat Braden Holtby for the decisive tally.

    Now, it was only decisive because Marc-Andre Fleury was at the top of his game. Oh, and also because the Penguins did a collective Guentzel impression in frantically denying a tying tally.

    Makes you want to wipe some sweat from your brow, eh?

    The Capitals dominated by just about every statistical measure … except, of course, goals on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh will gladly take that 1-0 series lead, then.

    Expect a desperate Washington team in Game 2, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App (click here for the livestream link).

    Karlsson makes difference for Senators vs. Lundqvist, Rangers

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    Swedish superstars Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson were both stupendous in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

    Still, it was Karlsson’s game-winning goal (from a seemingly impossible angle) against Lundqvist that made the difference as the Senators beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. With that, the Senators are up 1-0 in the series.

    That Karlsson goal really deserves a special look.

    Whether you blame that 2-1 tally on Lundqvist or not, the Rangers would be foolish to do anything but praise their red-hot franchise goalie. He stopped all 21 Senators shots in the first period and ultimately made 41 out of 43 stops in defeat.

    Craig Anderson was strong in his own right, mind you, stopping 34 out of 35 shots (including all 28 at even-strength) to help Ottawa take that tight contest.

    Anderson’s strong play highlights the fact that Rangers – Senators doesn’t merely come down to Lundqvist vs. Karlsson … but even so, both Swedish superstars really did stand out in this one.

    Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream link.