Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby no longer has to wear an extra shield on his helmet that covered his jaw area.
Team doctors cleared Crosby this weekend to go without the protective piece that was designed to safeguard the broken jaw he suffered when hit by a puck in the mouth area by a deflected puck late in the regular season. Crosby missed 12 games plus the playoff opener while recovering from jaw, mouth and dental injuries.
The Penguins captain practiced without the shield on Sunday as Pittsburgh prepared to face the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals. The date of the first game has not yet been set.
"They're comfortable with it coming off, being hit and things like that," Crosby said. "That's what it came down to. It doesn't really change anything. It's nice to see a little bit better."
The extra shield hasn't affected his performance during the playoffs. In 10 postseason games, he has seven goals and eight assists. But Crosby did say the face guard restricted his vision and breathing.
"It feels weird cause I'm used to wearing the full-face (shield) for a month," Crosby said. "It feels weird, but much better. Seeing is much better.
"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."