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Penguins notebook: Crosby gets permission to ditch protective shield

| Sunday, May 26, 2013, 1:48 p.m.

Sidney Crosby's playoff beard will be a little more noticeable now.

Crosby has been given permission to scrap the protective shield that he has been wearing since returning from breaking his jaw.

Starting with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final against the Boston Bruins — the game will be played at Consol Energy Center, likely Wednesday or Thursday — Crosby will look like himself again. He practiced on Sunday without the shield.

“I definitely can see better on the ice now,” said Crosby, whose jaw was broken on March 30 by a deflected Brooks Orpik shot.

Crosby admitted to being slightly apprehensive when first hitting the ice without the shield.

“I think that's pretty typical,” he said. “It might take a couple of days probably before I'm sticking my face in front of the net as much as I would have with the full cage.”

The injury has not hindered his work.

Crosby is third in NHL postseason scoring with 15 points and first in points per game with a 1.5 total.

He recorded nine points in five games against the New York Islanders and six points in five games against the Ottawa Senators.

Crosby, who has never faced Boston in a playoff series, has produced 32 points in 22 career games against the Bruins.

“It actually feels weird being out there without it,” Crosby said. “But it's much better.”

• Left wing Chris Kunitz did not practice Sunday. He was banged up in Game 4 but returned for the third period of that game and played in Game 5.

• Coach Dan Bylsma, who is unsure of the conference final schedule, said he might give the Penguins another day off before the series begins.

• The Penguins practiced for about 45 minutes on Sunday at Consol Energy Center and are scheduled to practice again Monday.

— Josh Yohe

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