Detroit Red Wings\' Pavel Datsyuk (13) celebrates with teammates as he returns to the bench after scoring during the second period of a NHL pre-season hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
DETROIT - Pavel Datsyuk is expected to miss the start of the regular season because of a separated right shoulder.
Detroit general manager Ken Holland said his star centre will miss 4-5 weeks. The 36-year-old Datsyuk was injured in the Red Wings' exhibition opener at Pittsburgh on Monday night when checked into the glass by Penguins defenceman Rob Scuderi.
The Red Wings open the season Oct. 9 against Boston.
"The good news is that there's two weeks to go before the regular season starts," Holland said. "He'll have two weeks of healing under his belt."
Datsyuk missed 37 games in 2013-14, 30 from a knee injury and seven with a concussion. He still managed 17 goals and 37 points in 45 games.
Datsyuk, who helped Detroit win two Stanley Cups, is a three-time Selke Trophy winner and four-time Lady Byng Trophy honoree.
But the Red Wings are deep at centre. Captain Henrik Zetterberg, who sometimes plays on the same line with Datsyuk, is healthy after missing half of last season because of back surgery. Stephen Weiss—who had a lost season in 2013-14 and underwent sports hernia surgery—seems healthy and looks to return to his previous form. He's penciled in as the second-line centre.
Riley Sheahan is slated to be the No. 3 centre after emerging last season, when the Red Wings were second to Pittsburgh in man-games lost to injury.
Darren Helm, the No. 3 centre when healthy the past few seasons, was a wing on Datsyuk's line in training camp and Monday's preseason opener. However, Helm broke his nose Monday night.
Luke Glendening and Joakim Andersson are competing to centre the fourth line.