If we are a playoff caliber team, Babcock should be able to elevate us to being a Stanley Cup contender - top coach plus playoff-caliber team should at least be in that discussion, right? If Babcock can only squeak us into the playoffs, the roster isn't playoff caliber. A playoff caliber team, in my mind, controls their own destiny and doesn't need a couple 'breaks' or puck bounces to eek into the 6-7-8 spot. Depending on which season preview you read, we're not even picked to finish that well...
You just have unique definitions of that term. For most playoff caliber would mean able to make the playoffs and making the playoff would be proof of that. You seem to discount the lower seeds as playoff caliber because they usually don't "control there own destiny." That's going to be an uphill battle against common sense, I think.
It is possible that we wouldn't have made the playoffs with a different coach, but it's also possible we would have finished higher without our injury woes. Both are what ifs - I think it's better just to deal with what did happen and we did make the playoffs. Also, I have not come across a commentator who's predicting we won't this year with the same roster.
I also disagree your rhetorical question, "top coach plus playoff-caliber team should at least be in that discussion, right?." I've never heard anyone argue that a lower seeded playoff team was a contender because of their coaching - it's always that the team underperformed during the season or they made some big deadline aquistions.
- krsmith17 likes this