Red Wings owners unable to attend Lidstrom ceremony

There will be a couple of very important empty seats Thursday night when the Red Wings retire Nick Lidstrom's No. 5 jersey in a special ceremony.

DETROIT -- There will be a couple of very important empty seats Thursday night when the Red Wings retire Nick Lidstrom's No. 5 jersey in a special ceremony.

Owners Mike and Marian Ilitch are unable to attend.

In a statement, Mike Ilitch said: "While Marian and I would love to be there, we won't be at tomorrow's jersey retirement for Nick Lidstrom. This past year, I had a medical procedure that has kept me out of the spotlight for awhile. I feel much better now, and I'm stronger every day. While we may not attend every event, we never miss a game on TV and are very involved in all our businesses every day from home and the office.

"We want to congratulate Nick, his wife Annika, and their family on this honor. He's very deserving and we're so proud and fortunate to have had him as a part of the Red Wings family for more than 20 years. 

"We thank him with all our hearts."

Ilitch will be 85 in July.