The New York Rangers appear to be on the verge of bringing back left wing Sean Avery to the roster, and the move would be a step in the right direction.
The Rangers placed Avery on re-entry waivers Monday afternoon, and unless another NHL team claims him before noon Tuesday, he will be back with New York and available for Thursday's game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Avery, 31, has been a fan favorite at Madison Square Garden since his arrival in 2007, and there have already been chants of We want Avery this season.
Though it is very early in the season, the Rangers are currently tied for 11th place in the Eastern Conference, which means they would miss out on the playoffs. Going into the 2011-2012 season, many experts believed the Rangers would be a borderline team to make the playoffs, and are somewhat of a long shot to win the Atlantic Division.
Avery would offer a boost to the club. He is an antagonizer with the ability to motivate his teammates with his tough and aggressive style. Avery is also a savvy veteran on a club that only has four players over the age of 30.
A smart player, and an under-rated skater, Avery would be an asset to head coach John Tortorella, who might be on the hot seat should the Rangers fail to make the postseason.
At the moment, Avery is making $4 million to play in the AHL.
I'm probably one of the only guys in hockey who's being paid a lot of money to play without pressure, said Avery, earlier this month. My only responsibility now is to work hard.
Avery is not only well-liked by fans but also amongst his teammates. His presence would inject morale into a club that might be involved in race for a final playoff spot with the New Jersey Devils, the Rangers' main rival.
Off the ice, Avery is known for making some off-color comments, but also for his commitment to gay rights. Avery has been featured in several television programs, and was on People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive 2007 list.
Avery is also a co-owner of Warren 77, a popular bar and restaurant in the posh Manhattan area of Tribeca.