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Leafs veteran Manson speaks softly, for now

A paralyzed vocal chord means the enforcer can only whisper until he can have surgery.

When Dave Manson comes down with his next cold, he's covered.

Acquaintances hear his voice, which at its loudest is a rasping whisper, figure he's a bit under the weather, and suggest a cure.

"I have all the cold remedies in the world," the Maple Leafs defenseman said with a chuckle.

The remedies, however, don't go to the root of the problem.

Manson has a paralyzed vocal chord, sustained when he took an elbow to the throat in a 1991 fight with Sergio Momesso. Surgery could not correct the problem, though Manson said he will have another procedure either after the season (if, as he hopes, it can be relatively minor) or after he retires.

"It's one of those things. You just deal with it," said Manson, who faces the Lightning tonight at the Ice Palace. "Things could definitely be a lot worse."

Which is exactly how he explained his condition to his children: Joshua, 9; Meagan, 7; and twins Ben and Emma, 18 months.

Manson played for them a videotape of a television interview he did with former Bruins coach Don Cherry so they could hear what he sounded like before the injury.

When Manson's children asked him why his voice changed, he showed them a tape of the fight.

"It was just so they knew this was something that was an accident," Manson said. "I think they realize there are a lot worse things, so if it gets fixed, that's going to be great, but I can certainly go through the rest of my life like this."

He joked that his children and wife, Lana, wouldn't mind if his voice stayed on the quiet side so he couldn't yell at them. In fact, Manson said the injury is such that when he tries to yell, his voice becomes more faint.

Seriously, though, "I won't lie and tell you I'm not nervous of taking another shot in the throat," he said. "I don't know what that would bring. But I still enjoy playing and that's what keeps me going."

Manson, who turns 34 next month and is playing for his seventh team, joined 151 players Nov. 17 when he played his 1,000th game.

Before the game against the Lightning at the Air Canada Centre, Manson, a two-time All-Star, was given a Tiffany sculpture and a framed copy of the stat sheet from his first game in 1986.

"The game has changed a lot," Manson said. "To be able to change with it, I'm pretty proud."

He missed out on one perk, though.

"I wish I had a dollar," he said, "for every time somebody asked me what was wrong."