What's bugging Emery?

Senators goalie Ray Emery threw a fit at practice yesterday. SUN MEDIA FILE/Errol McGihon

Senators goalie Ray Emery threw a fit at practice yesterday. SUN MEDIA FILE/Errol McGihon

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:31 PM ET

Does Senators goalie Ray Emery have an illness? Or is there another reason for his departure from the rink today prior to practice -- which the team conducted with just one goaltender?

Speculation around the team hit a fever pitch this morning when Emery was seen leaving the rink before the Senators hit the ice. Coach John Paddock says he is ill, and teammates echo that.

But the fact it comes one day after a serious blowup at practice and in the wake of both being called out by his team captain, and yet another night on the bench as a backup, has a lot of questions being asked.

Emery himself was not around to answer, so up was up to team staff and his teammates.

"I told him to go home because he wasn't feeling good," said Senators coach John Paddock after practice. Paddock added he expects Emery to be back at practice on Saturday.

"He got here a little bit late. He wasn't feeling good. I told him not to practice. He wanted to practice and it was best he went home for the day," said Paddock.

Senators general manager Bryan Murray also discussed the situation with Emery.

Teammates were also being asked about Emery, who threw a fit during an optional morning skate Thursday prior to last night's 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. But, other than reiterating the official line that he is ill, they had little more to add.

"I don't think we're distracted," said sniper Dany Heatley, when asked about events of the past 24 hours. "I've broken a few sticks in my time. Today he's sick, it's cold and flu season."

"I guess he's sick. That's what we're hearing," said Mike Fisher.

Emery dressed for last night's game, but was back on the bench where he's been for much of the season after leading the Senators to the Stanley Cup final last spring. However, off-season surgery, the revitalized play of Martin Gerber and Emery's inconsistent performance through the first part of the 2007-08 season has resulted in his being relegated to the No. 2 role.

Emery has also been involved in a couple of off-ice incidents in recent months and they cannot sit well with the Senators, a very image-conscious organization.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson had told the Sun following Thursday's game that Emery has to work harder in practice to help regain his form -- and to compete again for the starter's role.

"To get considered for a start, (the coaching staff) is looking for him to show that he wants to be in there," said Alfredsson, who said he had not seen Thursday's incident.

"You have to work hard in practice to show that you want to play. That's what most players do when they're not playing and the goalies are no different."


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