The Rangers' Sean Avery has been criticized by agent Todd...

The Rangers' Sean Avery has been criticized by agent Todd Reynolds for supporting same-sex marriage. (Apr. 20, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

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," John Tortorella said Monday night.

Tortorella said the move was based on the condition of the left knee of Mike Rupp, which has kept him out of the last three games.

"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 hash marks. When a guy like Rupper goes out, to me, it's the right call for Sean.''

If Avery, 31, who had three goals and 21 assists last season, clears waivers, he presumably will practice Wednesday. He would be eligible to play Thursday against the Ducks at Madison Square Garden, where a segment of the crowd has been lobbying for his return.

Avery 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 Monday night, was called up.

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