November 01, 2011
For all the hullaballoo about Sean Avery(notes) descending to the AHL, the Connecticut Whale didn't even get a single home game with him on the roster before he was brought back to the New York Rangers through re-entry waivers. Which has to be the most depressing thing to happen to Hartford since ... well, we simply don't have the time ...
This doesn't mean Sean Avery Hipster Glasses Night still can't happen down in the minors. Avery is back with the Rangers, passing through re-entry waivers without a claim and officially recalled on Tuesday morning, because winger Mike Rupp's knee is injured and he's going to miss some time. After that, who knows?
From Larry Brooks of the NY Post, Rangers Coach John Tortorella:
"When Rupp goes out, to me it's the right call to bring Sean back because he fills that role. Sean's best strength are his legs; he's a terrific skater, and a big part of his game is forechecking and playing below the hash marks.
"We want him to play to his strengths and work on his play away from that, but that's not different than any player we might call up at any time," the coach said. "It's not that convoluted. We want guys to do the best they can to help us win a hockey game."
Despite, you know, the Rangers having better players than Sean Avery and all.
So Avery's back with the Rangers, and could face the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night. (Jesse Spector thinks Tortorella could stay with the lineup that thumped the San Jose Sharks on Monday, so hold off on the champagne toast.)
Look, the hyperbole about this recall is well-documented. He's 31-year-old who scores a point every three games. He's a grinder, a quality forechecker and a frequent sideshow. His recall is being over-celebrated by Rangers fans who apparently missed the fact that Avery's spark was necessary to end the Sharks' 5-game winning road win streak last night.
But honestly: Injury recall or not, this is incredible.
Avery's NHL career appeared over when he was cut; not just his career with the Rangers. It was assumed he and Tortorella could never co-exist again, and yet here he is back in Manhattan.
Avery was Tortorella's final cut of training camp among the forwards, an NHL veteran suffering the indignity of having to leave the team on its season-opening European trip to join the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League. After taking some time to recover from a shoulder injury, Avery played for the Whale in a pair of wins this weekend. "He was great to the guys, great with me," said Andre Deveaux(notes), who made his Rangers debut Monday on the fourth line after spending the opening month of the season in Connecticut. "I'm glad he is on my team."
In between his demotion and promotion, there was an emphatic "Occupy MSG" protest with banners and chants in support of Avery. Four days later, they wanted Avery and now they got him, even if it's until Rupp heals.
Predictability has never been in Avery's repertoire, but even this reversal was bewildering.