German is a wonderful language. Intricate, logical, often bewildering to those who try to study it. It's also full of wonderful things called compound words - words that can express an idea or meaning by combining two other concepts, often idiomatically. And since it's Dennis Seidenberg's native language, what better medium to sum up and relive a year that the German would rather forget? After all, as Germany's foremost rapper Bushido once told us, "Vergessen ist einfach, aber verzeihen ist schwerer" ("to forget is simple...but to forgive is harder").
WORD 1: Weltschmerz (world-pain)
Weltschmerz is the feeling of sadness in the certainty that reality can never match the demands and hopes of the mind. It's a pretty good description of what Bruins fans felt when they realised that a 33-year-old Dennis Seidenberg, with an albatross of a contract, was likely expected to be a key part of filling the Dougie Hamilton-sized hole on Boston's back-end, along with the simultaeneous realisation that Dennis Seidenberg is not and never, ever will be Dougie Hamilton-a realisation that appeared to strike everybody in New England and beyond about the same time as Don Sweeney decided trading a 21-year-old potential franchise defenseman was a good idea...a pain only increased when it yielded only Zach bloody Senyshyn as a return with Mathew Barzal, amongst others, still on the draft board. Ow.
WORD 2: Fernweh (distance-sickness)
Fernweh is the longing to be very far away from where you currently are. Again...a pretty good description of the feeling experienced by anybody who had to endure Seidenberg's defending this season. It is, in fact, an ideal description of what it must have felt like to be Tuukka Rask in net on any given night, settling into a goalie stance for a D-zone faceoff before seeing the 44 jersey in front of him, especially when looking the other way brought up ADAM MCQUAID.
Apart from anything else, the Bruins fanbase increasingly developed Fernweh about Seidenberg's cap hit...but it stubbornly refused to disappear and will likely remain next season, too.
WORD 3: Sitzfleisch (sitting-meat)
This is literally an informal word for someone's backside, but "Sitzfleisch haben" also means "having the ability to endure stoically through something harrowing, painful or just boring" - through the idea of having a thick arse and thus able to take being forced to stay sitting until said thing is over,.
With 19:36 average TOI for Seidenberg this season, getting through a game Seidenberg was playing in as a B's fan involved needing a hell of a lot of Sitzfleisch.
WORD 4: Treppenwitz (staircase-joke)
Comparable to "l'esprit de l'escalier" in French, this literally means "having the perfect joke/comeback/witticism for a situation, but too late to use it". In the context of Seidenberg's season, it's a perfect way to sum up his defensive decision making for the vast majority of the year. We KNOW Dennis still has the knowledge of playing...it's just that his mind always seemed to work out what to do TOO LATE.
WORD 5: Arschgeige (ass-violin)
An Arschgeige is someone who isn't that good at anything...in fact, is pretty much useless at everything they try to do.
The connection here should be obvious - but in case it isn't...Seidenberg was neither effective going forward (his one goal and eleven assists in 61 games was only two points more than the 10 he scored in 34 games the lockout-shortened season) nor as a shutdown defenseman...and DEAR GOD, look at that possession impact:
(by the way, we needed a comparison for the WARRIOR chart, so we used ex-Buffalo D and fellow German Alex Sulzer, who is now playing in the DEL for Koelner Haie. He wasn't good enough to stay in the NHL...Dennis Seidenberg is being paid $4 million a year.
Think on that. It's almost enough to give you...
WORD 6: Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung (inability to deal with the past)
THAT CONTRACT, THOUGH. This season has made it even more unlikely B's can find a way to move Seidenberg...and that cap hit and the past mistakes will likely haunt the B's for another year.
WORD 7: Sauregurkenzeit (sour-pickle time)
Used to describe the German summer where nothing happens because everybody is away (and also the season that cucumbers and pickles come into ripeness) the Bruins defence saw its own version whenever Seidenberg suited up...because he always seemed to be away from where he needed to be and it usually ended up putting the Bruins in a right old dilly of a pickle.
WORD 8: Fruehjahrsmuedigkeit (spring-tiredness)
As the B's hit the spring run, their play tailed right off and eventually cost them the playoffs. And Seidenberg kept tailing right off with them. As one of the "veteran leaders" you'd hope he'd have found a way to elevate his game...but nope. Nothing.
WORD 9: Fremdschaemen (stranger-shame)
Literally, being vicariously embarrassed at the failings of another. This is pretty much how Boston fans felt at the end of the season. They'd gone beyond anger. Beyond sadness. Beyond fuchsteufelwild (a wonderful German word literally meaning "fox-devil-wild" but in context "absolutely fucking furious")...now, we were openly cringing at what Seidenberg had become.
This bloke helped the Bruins win a Stanley Cup, for crying out loud. Now, that empty, husky shell, that superfluous object desperately still trying to fulfil its function despite clearly not being able to and preventing new blood coming through (like a human Geistbahnhof - ghost-station on the Berlin underground sealed off during Germany's partition to prevent Easterners escaping to freedom)....this was just sad.
And now, as the season ends, we come to our final German word, one that perfectly describes the position the Bruins are now in.
WORD 10: Zugzwang: (forced-move)
Zugzwang's literal translation doesn't get the sense across. A Zugzwang is the pressure to make a move in a game, most often chess, that, whatever course of action you choose, will end badly...the German equivalent of a devil's alternative.
The Bruins are now in zugzwang with Seidenberg. If they keep him, there is the very real risk he'll be even worse yet next season, eating up their cap hit and blocking their young defensemen from coming through.
The trouble is, who on earth would want a 34-year-old defenseman coming off one of his worst seasons with an albatross of a cap-hit? The Bruins have to cut bait with Seidenberg either by letting him go for almost nothing (and still needing to find a legit top-4 defenseman with no real assets gained by letting him go) or they keep him and hope for better.
We all saw how THAT ended this season.
Dennis Seidenberg leaving may be a prime case of addition by subtraction - but the B's are going to have to take a heck of a loss on him even on the relatively cheap price he was acquired for.
This season, though, he was barely an Ersatzabwehr (replacement-level defenseman). And that is why his grade, unquestionably, is what the Germans would call ungenügend (insufficient). Here, though, we simply call it: