Crosby cleared to play East Final without jaw protector Staff

5/26/2013 4:36:07 PM

Sidney Crosby practiced on Sunday without a jaw protector and will play without it when the Pittsburgh Penguins open the Eastern Conference Final against the Boston Bruins.

The Penguins captain was cleared by team doctors to skate without the safety precaution, which has been attached to his helmet since he returned to play on May 3. He was hurt on March 30 when he was hit in the face by a deflected puck and suffered a broken jaw and lost several teeth.

"The (doctors are) comfortable with it coming off, being hit and things like that," Crosby told "That's what it came down to.

"It doesn't really change anything. It's nice to see a little bit better."

Having the jaw protector on has not affected Crosby's performance in the post-season. He has seven goals and eight assists in 10 playoff games, and he netted a hat trick on May 17 against Ottawa.

The 25-year-old says it will take a bit of time to adjust to having the protector off, since he got used to playing with it for several weeks.

"It feels weird, but much better. Seeing is much better," Crosby explained.

"It might take a few days. I won't be sticking my head in front of the net as much as I would with a full-face on. But a few practices and I should be back to normal."

Crosby will have a few more days, at least, to get used to playing without the extra equipment. The Eastern Final will not begin until both Western Conference semifinal series have been completed.