Sean Avery has officially cleared re-entry waivers and will now return to the New York Rangers after immediately being recalled from the American Hockey League’s Connecticut Whale.
The shift disturber was put on recall waivers Monday at noon after being cut when the Rangers opened the regular season. He played two games for the Whale after initially dealing with a bum shoulder. At the end of training camp, coach John Tortorella said there were better players on the roster than Avery — even though, some would argue, he wasn’t given a fair shot for a spot. Ten games in and a fourth line that's been constantly shuffled and inconsistent, and No. 16 is back in New York.
Avery is now being summoned as Mike Rupp deals with a knee injury that may require surgery, though after Monday night’s 5-2 win against a surging top team in the Western Conference in San Jose Sharks, Tortorella would offer no guarantees that the fan favorite would be inserted into the lineup when the Rangers take on the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.
Tortorella said he would not "force-feed" anything and would look at the tape of the game and make decisions that way. Before the Sharks game, Erik Christensen was a frontrunner to be a healthy scratch, but with two assists, he played his best game of the year. Andre Deveaux, in limited minutes, also played pretty well, but it’s still a good possibility he sits Thursday. It’s also entirely possible Avery doesn’t see the ice for another game or two. New York has three more games left on its homestand and you can expect Madison Square Garden to be rocking once Avery’s name is called, if he makes his season debut over the next few days.
The 31-year-old is an excellent skater, underrated passer and does great work along the boards and if he earns is time, would be able to be moved up beyond just a fourth-line role. No. 1, though, is that he provides an immediate spark and a source of constant energy that this team had been lacking prior to the game against San Jose.