There are few things more American than a hot dog.
Whether you love them or hate them, the iconic summer picnic staple is consumed at an alarmingly high rate. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council - which is a thing, by the way - 350 million pounds of hot dogs are consumed by Americans every year.
But according to the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons, Phil Kessel's hot dog habit - and, probably moreso, his $8 million dollar salary - forced the Toronto Maple Leafs to send his buns to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The significance given to the consequences of Kessel's Coney cravings sparked a curiosity. Just how much of an impact could a hot dog a day have on a hockey player's performance or weight?
To start our journey, we turn to the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA estimates that the average hot dog contains 151 calories. Presumably, Mr. Kessel was served his frankfurter in a bun, which adds 84 calories to his pre-game snack. The total for his hot dog would be 235 calories if he ate it plain.
If Kessel ate his hot dogs plain, however, the Toronto media would have let us know because that is as un-American as you can get, frankly.
And then he threw on some Heinz Yellow Mustard (for all the reasons stated above). ZERO calories.
Maybe some Heinz sweet relish (20 calories) and diced onions (33 calories).
Kessel's hot dog has topped the scales at 303 calories.
Luckily for Phil, he's a hockey player and is typically pretty active. The calculator at FitDay.com, a fitness and exercise website, estimates that a 27 year old male hockey player weighing 203 lbs would burn approximately 602 calories per hour playing the sport.
Ignoring the fact that this estimate is likely geared towards Average Joe Hockey Player Guy who faces off against other Average Joe Hockey Player Guys and not competing against world-class competition, it would take Phil Kessel approximately 30 minutes of playing hockey to burn off that hot dog.
Over his career, Phil Kessel has averaged 18:16 in time on ice. That means that he typically burns roughly 183.2 of the 303 calories during play. However, according to some studies, the human body will continue to burn calories for up to 14 hours after a workout. SparkPeople.com indicates that this "afterburn" effect can burn up to 190 calories in this way.
In case you were wondering, Phil would still have some work ahead of him if he chose to snack on Canada's National (and delicious) dish, poutine. Poutine contains 740 calories and would require Kessel to play nearly four games and use up that "afterburn."
But who really cares about his hot dog consumption?
Given the fact that Kessel is one of the NHL's elite scorers and was one of the few consistent contributors in Toronto, regardless of his relationship with the media, maybe the Maple Leafs should. As a matter of fact, maybe every remaining Leafs player should take a page out of Kessel's book and enjoy a delicious hot dog more regularly.