Other tidbits are less obvious. He’s very handy — he remodeled his basement in Saskatoon from top to bottom — although he tries to keep that under wraps. Handymen aren’t always easy to find in his neck of the woods, and he’d prefer that not everyone know he can fix things lest he get too many calls from friends in need.
“You go to The Home Depot and ask (questions) until they tell you how to do it. You bug enough people,’’ he said of his self-taught ways.
The 6-foot-9 and 250-pound Manson had 10 points (0g-10a) and 166 penalty minutes in 67 regular season games and three assists and 64 penalty minutes in 22 games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs while helping Dayton win the American Conference championship in 2006-07.
If Manson becomes as adept in self-improvement projects as he is with the home improvement variety, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton could be building a wall on defense.
The Penguins signed him to an AHL/ECHL pact late last month. A blueliner who stands nearly 7-foot tall on skates is a curiosity, for sure, and a gamble worth taking. But the fact remains that Manson, a fourth-round pick by Atlanta in 2002, has yet to play in a game above the ECHL level in his three seasons as a pro.
“There was always a question mark, was he quick enough?’’ said Manson, who weighs 250 pounds. “When I’ve played (AHL) exhibitions, I haven’t felt out of place. The reach definitely has its advantages, but there’s definitely drawbacks when it comes to moving around the big frame.’’
Manson thinks his biggest fixer-uppers are his puck movement and first passes out of his zone, but at 23, there’s no reason to expect that he’d be a polished product at any height yet. He knows he’ll probably keep getting a look because his size is just so tantalizing.
At the same time, it also raises the issue of how come a player with such an obvious physical advantage is still mired in the lower minors.
“Three years in ‘The Coast’, you say, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ It’s frustrating, but what do you do?’’ he said. “It (his height) gets you a second look. People say to themselves; ‘Hey, we can work with this guy.’ But when you’re 6-foot-9, you can’t get away with much. It’s tough to fly under the radar. You throw a pass in the middle, it gets intercepted, everybody remembers the big galoot.’’