GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Perhaps Rangers fans should've been more specific.
Much to the delight of Garden faithful, who chanted "We Want Avery!"
in the first three games at Madison Square Garden last week, feisty winger Sean Avery returned to the Rangers Wednesday after clearing re-entry waivers. However, he will not be in Thursday's lineup against the Ducks.
Coach John Tortorella acknowledged the frenzy Avery's return would cause but said he wants to stick with the same lineup from Monday's
5-2 win over the Sharks.
"I know there's people, as far as fans and media, they have their favorite players and they have their players to grind on. Doesn't matter either way to me, whether they grind on him or love him, it's not going to change my decision-making," Tortorella said. "It can't happen that way. We can't run a business that way."
Avery, who was placed on re-entry waivers Monday and cleared Tuesday, said he did not expect to play Thursday because he missed a couple of days skating and because the team is coming off a well-rounded effort against the Sharks. He split reps on the fourth line with Artem Anisimov, Erik Christensen and Andre Deveaux at the team's training facility in Westchester Wednesday.
The 31-year-old forward, waived by the team back in October, appeared to be fine with the decision. Although arguably the league's most controversial and colorful personality, Avery adopted a subdued, no-frills approach when addressing the situation after practice.
"Listen, I love every game I've ever played for this team. I love walking into the building -- I'm definitely excited to play in the new building," he said. "I just want to help these guys win."
When Avery was waived before the season began earlier this month, Tortorella explained the decision succinctly:
"I think we have better players than Sean Avery, plain and simple."
When asked if there were any fences to be mended between himself and Tortorella, Avery tactfully skirted the question.
"We're all here because we want to play for the Rangers. I love this team. I want to play, I want to win. And I want to play as hard as I possibly can and that's just what it comes down to," he said.
Tortorella also said he felt no need to have a conversation with Avery to hash out anything that has transpired in the past.
Earlier in the week, Tortorella cited the knee injury to Mike Rupp -- which seems to be a growing concern for the Rangers -- as the reason for Avery's recall. He said he will treat Avery's status like any other player the team would recall. Even if fans and media members treat him differently.
"It's the same situation as any other player brought up," Tortorella said. "And we want to conduct it that way. I think that's what's fair to Sean."
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.