Red Wings honor Gordie Howe

The Detroit Red Wings honored Gordie Howe on his 85th birthday Sunday as players wore jerseys with Howe's retired No. 9 during warm-ups and "Mr. Hockey" was on hand at Joe Louis Arena signing autographs.

Fans who attended the game also could sign a birthday card for Howe.

Former Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who won seven Norris Trophies, was in from Sweden for the occasion. Also on hand were Red Wings Hall of Famers Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio.

The Red Wings lost to the Blackhawks 7-1.

In addition, Howe's family said last week that more than 30 family and friends would help Howe celebrate his birthday at a private dinner in Detroit after the game.

Howe's family revealed just over a year ago that the hockey great has a mild form of dementia.

"His memory loss is getting to the point where it's almost becoming difficult to do a lot of interaction with Dad," son Mark said in a recent interview. "I'm sure this (birthday) will go well, but a year from now, I don't know what life's going to bring.

"So we're going to make the best of it."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.