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Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’

Dec 5, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT

Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton AP

Call it the Thursday tire pump.

In advance of tonight’s big tilt with the Sharks, Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma offered some high praise to the visitors from San Jose.

“With all due respect to Chicago, [San Jose] is the best team in the league right now,” Bylsma said on Thursday, as per Pens Inside Scoop. “They way they come at you, the way they play — I think [they're] the best team in the league.”

San Jose currently sits second in the NHL in points (43), one back of first place Chicago but with two games in hand. In an ironic twist, it was a deflating loss to the ‘Hawks that kickstarted the Sharks’ recent hot streak — following a 5-1 loss at the United Center on Nov. 17, San Jose has ripped off six straight victories, including Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Toronto.

The victory over the Leafs started off the Sharks’ road trip well. They’ll continue on through Pittsburgh (tonight), Carolina (Friday) and Minnesota (Sunday) before returning home for a pair — then it’s back onto the road through Nashville (Dec. 14), St. Louis (Dec. 17) and Los Angeles (Dec, 19, though it really isn’t much of a road game.)

The Sharks have been getting contributions from all over lately, but the captain is really leading the charge. Joe Thornton has goals in three of his last four and now has 30 points through 27 games, leading the team while putting him in a tie for eighth in NHL scoring.

Thornton is on pace for 91 points this season, which would be his highest total since scoring 96 with the Sharks in 2007-08.

Related: Malkin (lower body) to miss tonight’s game versus Sharks

  1. hockey412 - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Whatever happens just PLEASE don’t let Thornton score four goals.

    • hockey412 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Hey what’s with the thumbs down? Was that too cocky?

      :)

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        SOMEBODY has Thornton on their fantasy team.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        lol every Penguins article, the Oscar the Grouches are out in full force.

        ::frown::
        ::thumb down::
        ::frown::
        ::thumb down::
        ::frown::
        ::thumb down::

  2. avfanforlife - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I think saying the Sharks are the best team in the West would have made more sense to say. Saying they are the best in the NHL doesn’t sound great for his own team, but maybe that’s just me.

    • curioustraveler13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      I am a die hard pens fan, and the pens aren’t the best team in the league. Maybe top 10, maybe. Nothing wrong with admitting your not the best. Always room for improvement. It’s still way to early.

      • curioustraveler13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Should of put top 5 not top 10 whoops.

      • jpelle82 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        top 5 are all western teams in my book. the pens usually do just fine against the west, i think a lot of that is the lack of familiarity. these games just sometimes turn into skill taking over, not having malkin tips the ice in san jose’s favor in the skill department big time though.

    • hockey412 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Pittsburgh has some holes to fill, many caused by injury, but still present. Danny knows that better than anyone – he has no clue who he’s playing on the third and fourth lines from game to game right now. With everyone healthy, we’ll see.

    • c9castine - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      its way early man. penguins are more than capable of being the best team in the league and have at times but with the 25 game sample yes the sharks are the best right now. nothing wrong with saying that.

  3. btlpper68 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Love my sharks but no parade in front of the tank yet

  4. tone360 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    What exactly is meant by “with all due respect”?
    I got one… “No offense but you’re an idiot”
    I said no offense… Hawks 5 SJ 1. Que the music… da na nat, da na nat…

    • hockey412 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      “best team in the league right now”

      Traditionally, the phrase “right now” means as of the present moment in time. SJS has won 6 straight, Chicago’s streak is at L-1.

      Also, “With all due respect to Chicago”

      Traditionally, the phrase “with all due respect” means ‘don’t get your panties in a knot, Alice, I’m about to say something you may disagree with’…

      • hockey412 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        ALSO…two words…Brent, and Burns. I can’t WAIT to see that guy play tonight. I hope the Sharks lose, but can’t wait to watch him and Thornton together.

      • c9castine - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        im a brent burns fan. plays the game hard and fast. he’s going to be a challenge for my guess is brooks orpik. only guy who can match with him physically.

      • tone360 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:13 PM

        With all due respect to Seattle, right now the Jaguars are the best team in the NFL… Having been the only team to win a game since Tuesday. Cheers to setting your own parameters.

    • sjawesome - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      With all due respect http://youtu.be/Af-Id_fuXFA

  5. sjsharks66 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Uh oh. Get ready for all the Hawks fans to come and say how everyone is jealous of them.

    • dannymac17 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      You are jealous of everyones trophy case though, that is for sure.

    • bluelinemh - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      not everybody, but clearly you

  6. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Sjaharks66.
    I’m not jealous of the Blackhawks. I’d rather have to the two best players in the world in Malkin and Crosby than toews and Kane.

    • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      honestly, I think I might rather have the consistency and 3 years of youth (that’s the smaller part) of Toews/Kane. please do not respond to me with anything about Giroux/Lecavalier…. I know that’ll be your first instinct. you turn things on the Flyers everytime I say something the least bit negative about the Penguins.

      after all, they have 2 cups….

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        Kane/Toews have 2 cups*, not G and Lecav, clearly.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        oh and that’s not mentioning the injury histories.

      • curioustraveler13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        You want consistency? Crosby’s been the best player in the world (when healthy) since he came into the league at age 18. Towes has a history with concussions too don’t forget.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        and what about the other half of who I said? Malkin…

        I have no issues with Crosby’s consistency, but Malkin’s inconsistency is a big negative in my book, as far as “2nd best players in the world” go.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        and Toews has never missed season-long spans of games for serious concussions.

      • curioustraveler13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:45 PM

        Malkin stats and individual awards speak for themselves. He’s #2 in the league right now , and he is one of the best . Compare all of genoa awards and stats to towes and Kane, then get back to me.

      • curioustraveler13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        Towes played 59 games 2011/2012 because he got a concussion that year.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        remind me how he did against the Flyers and Bruins in the playoffs the last two seasons again. thank you very much.

        it was just my opinion, that’s why I used “I.” you don’t have to argue me every time I tell my opinion.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        that’s nowhere near a season-long stretch of games, sir.

      • curioustraveler13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        1/4 of a season is still a good chunk if games. Hey I respect your opinion , I’m just saying the stats say your opinion is wrong. Crosby and malkin are better players then towes and Kane. I see you went to individual matchups to strengthen your theory. Did you see towes production during the hawks recent cup? 14 points on 23 games.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        uh, yeah. I went to individual matchups because my ENTIRE point is consistency and how clutch they are (winning two cups). you respect my OPINION, but you think there’s numbers that can prove my OPINION wrong? how about watching season after season of the teams I’m talking about play the game? yeah…. i guess I should just trust your numbers though.

      • curioustraveler13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        Cups are won because of 23 players as a whole. Not 2. I’m saying Crosby and malkin are better players then towes and Kane. The stats prove that.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        lol yeah, because goals and assists totally aren’t affected by the team around them.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        i’m sick of having these stupid back and forths with you, you never drop it, regardless of me saying it’s my opinion.

        last message on this thread

      • curioustraveler13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Look at towes # in the playoff then look at crosby’s. Do the same with geno and Kane. You still wanna tell me you would take towes and Kane over geno and Crosby? Your stupid if you say yes. Blackhawks had more complete teams, but not the better superstars.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        You apparently are just thinking offensively. Toews is very good BOTH ways. Got the Selke award last year in that regard.

      • c9castine - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        come on man. look at the scorers leader board. its not like they are 34 and 33. they are 27 and 26. consistency? crosby and malkin score at historic paces. Crosby is 4th all time Malkin is i think like 7th. Toews and Kane aren’t even in the top 50. Don’t say other parts of the game either because you can’t substantially prove one is better than the other than the obvious yes, Toews does have Selke(s). That is something. But the Pens also have 3 conference finals and two finals appearance and 1 Stanley cup in the last handful of years to match up with Chicago’s 2. So its not like Sid and Geno aren’t big game players. They are. Chicago has had their tough times too. Year after they won in 2010 they eked in as a 8th seed and then got bounced in the first round.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        You can’t point to 8th the year after the last cup – they had to fire sale 1/2 the team as the prior GM blew cap management (and got fired as a result).

        I was not claiming that Toews is better. All I was pointing out is that he does more than score.

    • hawksin5 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      well then you’d be stuck with that one singular cup…..

      • c9castine - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        what one singular cup? people act like its a bad thing what we’ve done the past decade. we have 3. you have 2. not that it matters much. and no you don’t have 4. the league was barely a league before 1967.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:18 PM

        lol the league between 1967 and 1974 was barely a league either, yet the Penguins still managed to only make the playoffs 2 times.

      • comeonnowguys - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        “Look at the numbers, unless they don’t back up what I say, then parse them until they do.”

        Gotcha.

      • hawksin5 - Dec 5, 2013 at 9:00 PM

        @c9castine my god, crosby and malkin have been with the penguins for 3 cups?!?!? oh..no they haven’t. i would take toews/kane over malkin/crosby. thats my point. read the comment i replied to.

  7. sjsharks66 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    @dannymac
    Actually, I am not. I could care less about the Sharks not having a cup. I enjoy the team and watching them play. I will continue to watch every year they do not win the cup. The sport is not just about trophies to some people.
    The argument of “we have these many cups and you have none” is like seeing a tiny man jump out of a lifted truck. Catch my drift?

    • ethanmacleod1685 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      I agree with you and I see what your trying to say but there is still nothing more I want than to see Thornton lift that cup

  8. hammerhead5573 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    @sjsharks, I’m jealous of the Sharks because they continue to show us year in and year out how good they are, especially come playoff time. So mark this Hawks fan jealous. I really wish the Hawks showed up more in the playoffs than they do. Ooh well, I just sit and admire the Sharks until then.

  9. tone360 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    You’re telling me I’m a Cubs fan. I don’t ever mention cups because the trolls from Pittsburgh have beat that dead horse.
    Sharks are a quality squad and the playoffs this year will be great.

  10. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Could really care less about the Chicago Blackhawks.

    • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      dude, we know. the only team you care or know anything about is the Penguins. you don’t have to tell us. even your insight on your team’s biggest rivals was “more offense and better goaltending.” you could gather that amount of information from any single comment from a Flyers fan on their posts.

    • tone360 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      I think the saying is “I could’nt care less” … Mind blowing I know.

      • sjsharks86 - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        I think the apostrophe goes AFTER the “n”… BOOM

      • sjsharks86 - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        I think the apostrophe goes AFTER the “n”… BOOM.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        I think you need to hit “Post comment” only once.

        (BOOM)

      • tone360 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:15 PM

        In too much of a hurry to be a smart a$$. I was gonna fix it but decided to leave it because of the irony.

    • c9castine - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      yeah he doesn’t know anything i apologize for him. he’s making me look bad. comes into PHT with a steelers handle. there is quietly a rift between the hardcore pens fans and steelers fans in the burgh, despite the fact we still love both. but this is why. steelers fans are pea brains.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        that’s ok, so are Eagles fans. look at their facebook comments sometime. pure gold.

  11. northstarnic - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    So does SJ have another incredibly disappointing playoff performance in them, or will the underachieving start before then?

  12. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    I’m just saying I would take the Penguins a full strength over the Blackhawks.

    • comeonnowguys - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      You do that. I’ll take the other team. And that team will win.

  13. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Crosby and Malkin saved the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. Without Crosby and Malkin the Penguins wouldn’t be in Pittsburgh.

  14. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Interesting Mario Lemiuex tweeted out Big announcement coming tomorrow! Stay tuned! #66. His coming back on the ice?!

  15. hawksin5 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    sharks are a great team. no question. but sorry to break it to you little danny bylsma, the hawks beat them 5-1 a few weeks ago, and will do worse to your pens when they see each other in march. i would also honestly put the avs in front of the sharks.

    • drcuschieri84 - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      When the Hawks beat the sharks, they were at the end of a grueling road trip playing 5 games in 8 nights. They also didn’t have Burns in the lineup who has proven to be an important piece. Hawks are one of the best teams in the league, but the sharks are playing like the best right now!

  16. sjsharks66 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    @ethan of course, I would love to see that as well. Hopefully we can this year!

  17. sjsharks66 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    @hawksin5

    So by your logic, beating a team once this year automatically means you can’t be better then them? Congrats Dallas, you are officially better then the Blackhawks! ;)

    • comeonnowguys - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      Now, now, which Chicago/Dallas game are you going to choose?

      • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 5, 2013 at 5:40 PM

        For another take on best team/rankings, Jeff Sagarin is a general sports geek. He has nightly rankings that I find useful for strength of schedule, rankings of the divisions, how a team fares against quality teams.

        But it’s all about wins, by how much and where ultimately. There is nothing that looks at injuries, shots on goal differential…

        Just FYI for any who might be interested. Sorry BlomDude, you’re beloved Kings are 9th. So perhaps I was not too unkind what I said they were 6th best;)

    • hawksin5 - Dec 5, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      @sjsharks ok ok fair enough. point taken, ur absolutely right.

  18. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Crosby and Malkin > Toews and Kane. Neal > Hossa. Enough said LET’S GO PENS!!!!

    • dt58 - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      Winning Stanley Cup > getting slapped around by Boston…badly

      Hockey = team sport

      As far as SJ, they are looking great so far this year. Playoffs in the west are going to intense this year…can’t wait

      • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:21 PM

        The West will be won by either the Sharks, Blues or Hawks. Aves and Ducks are very good, just too much overhead, baring significant injury issues of course.

  19. endusersolutions2013 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    I see poster after poster responding out of bias. I’m a Hawks fan, but I’m also VERY analytical. I do my own power rankings, that not only combines % of possible points and last 10 games, but how they got there – goal and shots differential, save%s, PP and PK adjusted by PIM, points and +/1 depth. I include Strength of Schedule (I use Sagarin’s). Anyone who looks at standings can see in about 10 seconds that the WC is WAY tougher than the EC this year.

    So bias aside, the top 5 currently are

    Sharks
    Blues (did not see anyone mentioning them)
    Hawks
    Boston (again no mention)
    Pens

    I rank among each factor then total.

  20. endusersolutions2013 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    One objective between the Hawks and the Sharks and Pens is that they are the least dependent on a single forward or two.

    Pens struggled when Malkin was also, got hot when he did. Pens fans, admit you need more from your 3rd and 4th lines. I’d take the Sharks 3rd over the Pens.

    Sharks are Jekyll and Hyde this year – great with Burns, so so without. I suspect it is largely the Thornton/Burns combo vs. Burns alone.

  21. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    I wish Malkin were playing tonight it would make the game even better. It would have been nice to see this game with both teams superstars on the ice. By the way my power rankings: 1.) Sharks. 2.) Hawks. 3.) Ducks. 4.) Kings. 5.) Blues. 6.) Pens. 7.) Avalanche. 8.) Bruins. 9.) Canadiens. 10.) Wild. That’s my top 10.

    • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      that’s basically the exact league standings with 1/2 and 3/4 swapped….

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        POWER FAKING!

  22. blomfeld - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Breaking News …

    BYSLMA ARRESTED … LA KINGS PRONOUNCED THE ABSOLUTE BEST ! :)

    • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      Sorry Blomdude, hawks beat the Kings 4-1 and won the cup last year.

      Objectively the best teams in the NHL at this point are in order:

      Sharks
      Blues
      Hawks
      Bruins
      Pens
      Kings

      I’ll see your song and raise you one

  23. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    I’m sick of everything coming back to Philadelphia/Pittsburgh. By the way you guys haven’t won a cup since 1975. Yeah congratulations on beating out 17 other teams NHL teams to win the Stanley Cup that year. Crosby and Malkin Toews and Kane > Giroux.

    • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      YOU’RE THE MAIN PERPETRATOR! you bring up the Flyers anytime any Flyers fan says even the smallest negative thing about the Penguins. note to you: some of us are hockey fans as well as fans of our teams. we can talk openly about other teams without it including our own. you, on the other hand……. cannot.

      • curioustraveler13 - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        Remember when you said you were done with this thread, and that you had posted your last message on here. That was fun.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        this is quite clearly a different thread…. and I quite clearly wasn’t talking to you.

  24. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    When have I ever done that? When someone rips my favorite team of course I’m going to become defensive and defend them. When have I ever ripped the Flyers organization. I have nothing but respect for the Philadelphia Flyers. You have to respect your rivals but you Philly fans make it very hard for me to respect the Flyers. The Flyers/Penguins rivalry is one of the best in the NHL.

    • ibieiniid - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      dude…. you just brought up the Penguins in a post about the Kings or Ducks (i forget which) YESTERDAY! you can’t comment on one f’ing thing without bringing up the Penguins.

  25. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    As for the actual Sharks/Penguins game it should be a good game. However I think the Penguins are fighting an uphill battle against the Sharks without Malkin in the lineup. The one thing I don’t like about the Penguins is that they have NO secondary scoring take away Crosby and Malkin from this team and they only have 14 goals scored.

  26. steelers88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Watch me.

  27. jhaegs - Dec 5, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Reality check tonight…

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