Sean Avery was a healthy scratch on Friday night for the AHL Connecticut Whale's game in Norfolk, and the New York Rangers told Katie Strang of ESPN that it was for "disciplinary reasons."
And with that, the key turned on the Sean Avery Extreme Speculation Machine.
Deadspin reported on Saturday morning that "the rumor spreading on Twitter is that he was benched for spitting on his coach," speculating that Avery could be agitated by the recent news that the Rangers are stalling on having him move to a new team because of salary cap concerns.
(Something agitating Sean Avery? Oh, hockey irony …)
The Whale on Saturday said Avery was scratched for "a minor infraction." The Rangers, meanwhile, flat-out denied that Avery spit on Coach Ken Gernander to draw the disciplinary action.
"The Rangers said Saturday that Avery did not spit on Gernander, or anyone for that matter, but otherwise would not discuss the specifics of his infraction."
"Try not to BELIEVE everything u read. Gentlemen don't spit … Amazing how if I do speak it gets me in trouble...more amazing how not speaking gets me in more trouble!"
A source confirmed to Yahoo! Sports on Saturday that the spitting story was unlikely true, but that talk of Avery's discontent was accurate. That includes a "lack of effort in practice" and, according to the source, that he told Gernander he "wasn't playing" on Friday night. Which, if true, apparently didn't sit well with the coach.
That's unconfirmed at this time. Confirmed by the Rangers: Sean Avery doesn't spit.