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FEATURE: Manning Up

Oilers defenceman Brandon Manning made the most of his opportunity against his former club, the Philadelphia Flyers, on Wednesday

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Brandon Manning knows the deal.

When you are on the outside looking in, you have to. As the seventh defenceman, there is no other option. 

On Wednesday against the Flyers, he was the next man up. Now, he's Manning up. 

Video: PHI@EDM: McDavid sets up Manning's slap shot

The defenceman finally got into game action on Wednesday after not playing a National Hockey League game since February 9 of last season. 

Manning, a late addition to the lineup after an injury to Joel Persson kept him sidelined, saw 11:23 of ice time and helped the Orange & Blue cull their sixth win of the season when he notched the sixth goal of the night.

Oilers captain Connor McDavid entered the Flyers' zone, button-hooked and chipped a backhand dish over a stick to an incoming Manning. The defenceman didn't need to dust off the puck before wiring it short side past netminder Brian Elliott for his first goal since January 20.

Manning, idling in his stall in the Oilers Dressing Room following Thursday's practice, admitted how rewarding it was to get back into action and contribute to the team's success.

"You realize and remember why you train and why you love the game," Manning said. "To be out there against the guys in Philly, I got a lot of friends there, and be able to contribute in a big win, it was definitely pretty special."

Video: RAW | Dave Tippett 10.17.19

The 29-year-old was with the Bakersfield Condors following the Oilers 2018-19 season but was finding it challenging to crack that lineup. This past summer was difficult for the rearguard, who came into the new campaign ready to take advantage of any opportunity that presented itself.

"The way things went last year, it was disheartening and a tough summer," Manning, who's dressed in 247 career NHL games split between the Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks and Oilers, said. 

"It was probably the toughest year of hockey I've ever had. To come in here, get an opportunity to stick around, not to say you don't appreciate it before, but you kind of look at things differently."

Manning is a professional. That is how Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett is viewing it.

"What he is, is a great teammate and he's accepted a role there," said the Oilers coach. "You saw it last night: when he gets that goal against his old team, the players are really happy for him. They understand how hard that role is and how hard it is just to jump in and away you go."

"They're happy for a guy like that because he's a good teammate, he works hard and understands that he's got to be ready all the time."

The Oilers recalled William Lagesson from the Bakersfield Condors on Thursday, so it is unsure what the plans are for the club's blueline in the coming games. Whatever the case may be, Manning is remaining focused, ready to step in when the opportunity comes. Ready to man up.

"Sitting out the first six or whatever it was wasn't an issue," he said. 

"I've been around, I understand how it is patiently waiting for an opportunity and trying to make the best of them."

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