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Goalie Ray Emery has appeared in just 12 of Ottawa's 37 games this season. ((Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press))

Ottawa goalie Ray Emery did not practise with his Senator teammates Friday morning, leading to further speculation about his future in the nation's capital.

Team officials said Emery, who left the rink at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place before even hitting the ice, wasn't feeling well.

"He got here late and he wasn't feeling good. He wanted to practise, but I told him to go home for the day," said Ottawa coach John Paddock, who added he expects Emery to be back at practice on Saturday.

However, there might be another explanation behind Emery's absence.

During Thursday's practice, Emery threw his stick into the stands and stomped off the ice before talking to reporters after Paddock chose Martin Gerber to start that evening's game against the New York Islanders.

Gerber went on to make 25 saves in a 5-2 win over New York, improving his impressive record to 19-5-1 on the season.

Emery has been unhappy with his lack of playing time in recent weeks.

Since injuring his hip during a Dec. 12 road game against Carolina, Emery has started just one of the team's eight games, a 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago on Dec. 22

In the interim, Gerber has posted six wins in his seven starts, cementing his status as the club's starting netminder.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson had told the Ottawa Sun following Thursday's game that Emery has to work harder in practice if he wants more playing time.

"To get considered for a start, (the coaching staff) is looking for him to show that he wants to be in there," said Alfredsson.

"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."