The word "gratuitous" always pops up whenever ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue comes out. The fascination with seeing (nearly) all of a top athlete's body is undeniable for many fans, but when it's your team's number one center skating around the rink naked for a national photoshoot, the line between tasteful and tawdry can be tough to see. Nevertheless, there is something mesmerizing about the athletic body in peak physical condition, and hockey players' bodies are right up near the top of the scale when it comes to impressive physique.
As anticipated, Tyler Seguin is featured in this year's Body Issue, and the photos and video are about exactly what you might have expected. Strategically placed rubber duckies do appear, but Seguin wasn't shy about discussing (or showing) his hips (and more) in the linked piece. (I can't tell you what to do, but probably you won't want to watch the video in a conference room with your boss right before your annual performance review).
There are more than just pictures, and some of the details in the interview are nearly as hypnotic as the shoot itself. Here's Seguin:
I use my hips too much. That's a big thing in hockey, the hips. So I started doing Pilates two years ago. My team at the time wanted me to get hip surgery -- it's a common surgery for a lot of hockey players. I get private sessions in Toronto. I really enjoy it. It's a lot of activating my glutes and my thighs. With all the training on my hips and doing all the Pilates, I haven't had to do that surgery, knock on wood.
But even with Seguin's fantastic stride, he wasn't always planning on skating his way to the NHL until a growth spurt changed things for him in high school:
I was prepared to take the safe route by going to college and fighting my way into the NHL as a smaller guy. It wasn't until one four-month period over the summer when I all of a sudden spurted up -- I was probably 15 or 16; I grew like five or six inches easily that summer, easily. I went from being this good player to being ranked first or second in the NHL draft for the world rankings. That's when I grew into my body and realized I was one of the top players in my class. The following year I was in Boston, and we won the Stanley Cup. It was pretty surreal.
I've had size 13 feet since I was 13 years old. I wasn't a tall kid, but I've always had massive feet and big hands. I did feel a little clownish, especially as a kid. Keeping a good pair of sneakers was a problem. But it was actually a good problem for hockey; I've always been a good skater, and I can attribute some of that to having big feet since a really young age.
And because you're all marveling over the shape these guys are in, here is Tyler Seguin wishing that he wouldn't lose so much darned weight.
A couple of years ago, I lost 17 pounds in one season. Guys are different; some put on weight during the season, some stay normal, I lose weight. It's something I've been trying to figure out, but it's just how my body is. I spent the whole summer last year trying to put on more fat. By the end of the year, I was down to 3 percent body fat.
Three percent body fat? Okay, I'm just going to go jog a few dozen laps around town now.
Tyler Seguin has certainly had to put the work in to get where he is, but it's hard not to be astounded when reflecting on what life is like for these young superstars. Millions of dollars and world-class physique surely makes it tough to maintain an "average-Joe" mentality, but thankfully we don't watch these players because they're average. We watch them because they are special, and Tyler Seguin's body is, in ESPN's eyes, as special as it gets.