MONTREAL - After watching teammate Chris Pronger nearly lose his right eye on Monday night, Flyers defenseman Matt Walker was asked if that horrifying incident might persuade him to start wearing a visor.
"Not for a second," Walker said.
Walker, one of just five Flyers to not wear the extra facial protection in the form of a clear plastic shield attached to the helmet, represents one side of the always-heated visor debate.
Walker, 31, said he doesn't like the sweat buildup, visibility and fogging that occurs with the heat coming off his face clashing with the cool of the frozen ice surface at his skates.
"It's something I've had to wear before and I wouldn't wear it again, if it's up to me," Walker said. "It's something I'm not comfortable with. It's a personal thing."
Walker believes the visor actually would do little to protect his eyes against a stick, citing teammate Matt Read - who does wear a visor and still was cut on his face as a result of a high-stick on Monday against Toronto.
"The stick can get underneath your visor," Walker explained. "It's coming straight up, it's not coming up horizontally. It's not hard to come up under the visor and get stuck and hit you two or three times coming out instead of just once."
If and when Pronger is ready to return, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said he will do so with a visor - both because he was scared after Monday's incident and because the Flyers' eye doctor "wouldn't clear him to play without one."
Holmgren said he would not make it mandatory that the entire team wears one - and under the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, it's not a battle he would win with the NHLPA.
Pronger, 37, was the only player on the 2010 gold medal-winning Canadian Olympic team to not wear a visor. It was a tournament mandate, as it is in Europe, for players who are born after Dec. 31, 1974. The same mandate exists in Russia's KHL, the AHL and all major junior leagues in North America.
"Young players coming in all have them," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Certainly they save a lot of injuries and possibly a lot of eye injuries. [But] some guys have been playing in the league a long time and I don't think you're going to get a lot of them to change."
Laviolette was on the fence. He said he wouldn't wear one - and didn't wear one in his 12-game NHL career with the Rangers - if he still played. But he also added that he wouldn't let his own hockey-playing sons go without one.
"I'm glad their faces are covered, as a parent," Laviolette said. "I think when people are older, they make decisions on their own."
Some guys, like enforcer Jody Shelley, choose not to wear a visor for ease of fighting. He said he doesn't mind fighting a player who wears a visor, even though it's within the "hockey code" to take off a helmet with a visor before fighting.
"I don't have a hard stance on it one way or the other," Shelley said.
Other players, like defenseman Andreas Lilja, want to wear the visor but have a hard time seeing with the glare of the rim. That's where the choice comes in.
"I'm not dumb," Lilja said. "If I could wear a visor and see just the way I do now, I would wear one for sure. Every year I try it once for a couple weeks in the summer and see if I can handle it, but I can't get over it."
On strict orders of bed rest, Chris Pronger was visited by eye specialist Dr. Stephen Goldman yesterday, less than 24 hours after being struck in the right eye with Mikhail Grabovski's stick.
"Chris was seen by Dr. Stephen Goldman today and is progressing very well," Paul Holmgren said in a statement.
Pronger will continue to be monitored daily, as the Flyers hope blood does not build up behind his eye, which could cause serious complications.
The Flyers held an optional practice yesterday, with nearly half the team skipping the on-ice practice . . . The Canadiens (1-5-2) are carrying up the rear in the Eastern Conference, having dropped a 2-1 decision to visiting Florida on Monday night with backup Peter Budaj in net.