Recalling Sean Avery, who will rejoin the Rangers if no other club claims him off re-entry waivers by noon Tuesday, is “the right hockey decision now, and it was the right hockey decision when we sent Sean down,” coach John Tortorella said tonight.
Tortorella said the move was made based on the condition of the left knee of fourth-line winger Mike Rupp, which has kept him out of the last three games and limited his effectiveness all season.
"That has a lot to do with it, Sean fills that role,” Tortorella said. “Sean's biggest strength are his legs. He’s a terrific skater. The big part of his game is his forechecking, his play underneath the hashmarks. When a guy like Rupper goes out, to me, it’s the right call for Sean.’’
If Avery, 31, clears waivers, he will presumably practice on Wednesday. The Rangers are not scheduled to skate Tuesday. He would be eligible to play on Thursday against the Ducks at MSG, where a segment of the crowd has been lobbying for his return during the first two home games.
Avery whose reputation is built on agitation, was demoted Oct. 4, rehabbed a shoulder injury, and played two games for the Connecticut Whale. He scored an empty net goal and a shootout goal.
Tortorella said Avery had not been under consideration to replace Kris Newbury, who was demoted after Saturday’s 5-4 loss to Ottawa. Andre Deveaux, who played last night, was called up in that case.