DETROIT -- The memories of Winnipegger Earl Cook were in the spotlight again Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.
The passionate Red Wings fan and good friend to many of the players and their coach, Mike Babcock, was just 22 when he lost his battle with cancer earlier in the fall.
Cook's life included numerous health challenges that included Asperger's syndrome, Tourette syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
Cook's foster mom Debbie Hopkins was among those present for Saturday's game between the Jets and Red Wings.
"Obviously Earl's a huge Winnipeg fan and a big Detroit fan so he would have been cheering for us tonight, but it would have been hard for him ... he'd be cheering for them the rest of the year," Babcock said before the game.
"Earl became a good friend of the Red Wings and a good friend of mine and it was tough losing him. And yet he's watching over us and looking after us and it should be a lot of fun for his family tonight. I know he'd be smiling."
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A 7-1 defeat in which your opponent scores no power-play goals isn't going to be a pretty sight on a scoresheet.
And so the Winnipeg Jets had 16 minus skaters on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Among those who suffered the most statistically were defenceman Zach Bogosian and left-winger Evander Kane at minus-four, while defenceman Mark Stuart and right-winger Blake Wheeler were minus-three. The only Jets skaters who escaped negative territory were wingers Tanner Glass and Jason Jaffray at even.
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Jets centre Bryan Little gave his team a dream start, breaking in alone and shooting one right through Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard after 35 seconds.
From there, though, it wasn't much of a night for the Jets.
"I think next time it would be a lot different," Little said after it was over. "We kind of learned what it was like to play against one of the best teams in the league tonight. So far... they've been the toughest team we've played."