Gerard Gallant punishes New York Rangers with ‘Herbies’ at end of practice

The New York Rangers embarrassed themselves in Pittsburgh and are now one game away from elimination in the playoffs. It was a shameful effort in all three zones that forced head coach Gerard Gallant to label his team soft five times in his post game press conference.

“Total team disappointed,”Gallant fumed. “We played soft– That’s the biggest difference. We were soft all over the ice.”

Today at practice, there appears to be no lineup changes coming for Game 5 on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Which likely means no Ryan Lindgren, who did not skate again today.

It was a brief session but one that ended with Gallant punishing his team with skating sprints per multiple reports. These were made famous by Herb Brooks and became nicknamed as ‘Herbies’ and brilliantly depicted in the movie Miracle.

The question is, will this move backfire?

Gallant makes New York Rangers do sprints at practice

Although the Rangers bench boss was not specifically asked about it, a question was posed by USA Today’s Vince Mercogliano about what he hoped to accomplish with today’s practice.

“Get back to our work ethic,” Gallant explained. “Get back to our straight up and down game. We had a great regular season. Second best in the league in goals against average. We can’t give up 7 goals and expect to win.”

This is some way to try and send your team a message in the heat of the postseason.

One team executive relayed surprise to me that Gallant would make such a move considering how important rest is at this time year. This could easily fall in the Win the Battle and Lose the War category.

Remember, the New York Rangers have played 4 games on paper but 5 thanks to a Triple OT in Game 1.

Did the Rangers get the message?

new york rangers
May 3, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant argues with linesman Shandor Alphonso (52) during the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins in game one of the third round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After the fiasco that occurred on Monday night, Jacob Trouba didn’t have much to say outside of moving on and win the next one.

“Not a good game,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if you lose 1-0 or what we just lost tonight (7-4). Game’s over– move on to the next game.”

Apparently Gallant was not ready to simply move on with the way he conducted practice today. But did the players get his message about “work ethic” and playing “straight up and down” hockey?

“I think there’s time for [east-west] hockey on an odd-man rush,” Ryan Strome said today. “I expect a lot of volume shooting and hungry team that’s a little more straight-line hockey. You can say straight lines or east/west it’s about the battle-level to compete.”

“To a certain extent when you play straight-line hockey things open up,” Adam Fox added “To get that east/west game we are able to do, we have to play straight-line hockey and have them respect that first.”

So it seems the Rangers know what they have to do, but will they do it? Will they immediately revert to Hope Hockey as former coach David Quinn so eloquently called it if they fall behind? Can the Rangers stay in their structure and win an elimination game to stay alive?

All these questions will be answered tomorrow night.

What won’t be answered right away is if Gallant running ‘Herbies’ will have his team too gassed to win this series if they win Game 5.

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