Hockey Fact Bag With Retta

Apr 19, 2019

It's the Stanley Cup of public radio bags: Fact Bag. In this hockey-themed edition, Los Angeles Kings fan and Good Girls star Retta joins Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton to discuss three NHL trivia questions, one for each period in a regulation game. Will they guess the answers, or will they be sent to the penalty box?

Heard on Retta: Tweet Yo' Self.

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Before our final round, it's time for us to play a game. Please welcome our special guest back to the stage, from NBC's "Good Girls," Retta.


RETTA: Oh, thank you (laughter).

EISENBERG: OK, Retta. So you are a big fan of hockey.



RETTA: I'm scared because I don't know a lot about hockey.


RETTA: ...I love watching it...


RETTA: ...But I don't know jack.


EISENBERG: So you're a fan of the LA Kings.



RETTA: Them Kings.


EISENBERG: How did you get into enjoying hockey?

RETTA: The guy who ran the Kings social media...


RETTA: ...Followed me. He was a "Parks" fan. He followed me on Twitter. And he liked that I live-tweeted shows. And so he tweeted me once and said, do you want to come live-tweet a hockey game? And I was like, bro, I don't know nothing about hockey.


RETTA: You know, and he was like, that's perfect. You don't have to know anything. Just come tweet it. I was like, is there beer? He was like, yes. I was like, I'm coming.


EISENBERG: And it was fun, right?

RETTA: The most fun.


RETTA: That's why I love it.

EISENBERG: So I will just say - we are the same in the sense that, as a Canadian, it's expected that hockey is basically within my blood...

RETTA: Right.

EISENBERG: ...And there is just some things I know through osmosis. But I don't know...

RETTA: Right.

EISENBERG: ...The game. But I like watching it. And...


EISENBERG: Yes. So, Retta, we're going to play a special hockey-themed edition of our game Fact Bag.


EISENBERG: So I have a bag of hockey trivia questions printed on envelopes. None of us - none of us - know the answers. So I'm going to read a question. We're going to discuss it and just come up with some ideas of what we think the answer could be.


EISENBERG: And then I'll open it up and find out what the real answer is.


EISENBERG: All right. Most sports are divided into halves or quarters. Hockey has three periods.


EISENBERG: Why? More beer sales?

JONATHAN COULTON: You know, I think you might be onto something with the beer sales.


RETTA: Really?

COULTON: Yeah. I feel like you have two breaks in a show - or in a game.

RETTA: Right. Right.


EISENBERG: I like that you see it in terms of a show.

RETTA: That's more concession time.

COULTON: Well, I'm already thinking ahead to what we should be doing here, if you see what I'm saying.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Right.

COULTON: But then everybody gets up and gets beer.

RETTA: That's more concession time.

COULTON: You sell twice as much beer. Yeah.

RETTA: I definitely throw them back during the intermission or whatever they call it.



EISENBERG: Sure. Yeah. I mean, so it's for sales. It's not for the players. That's what we think?

RETTA: Sure.



EISENBERG: Let's find out what the answer is. Ice maintenance.


COULTON: Yeah...

RETTA: Oh, that's right...

COULTON: ...Ice maintenance, they call it.

RETTA: ...They do have the...

COULTON: But really, that's drinking.

RETTA: ...Ice girls. (laughter).

EISENBERG: Yeah. Exactly. Two more ice cubes, please. According to ESPN, before 1910, hockey was played in two 30-minute halves. At the end of each half, the ice was a mess. And it was affecting gameplay. So hockey changed to three 20-minute periods to increase the number of times the ice could be cleaned by one.

RETTA: Aw (laughter).

EISENBERG: Yeah. The Zamboni. It's all about the Zamboni.

RETTA: Yeah.

COULTON: The Zamboni.

RETTA: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: All right. Here's your next one. Prior to a rules change in the early 1900s, what did hockey have in common with rugby?

RETTA: Maybe...

COULTON: Oh, they used to do it on grass outside.


COULTON: Could it be a helmet? They wear helmets in rugby?


EISENBERG: Audience says no.

COULTON: Maybe it's a safety gear...

RETTA: Maybe it's helmet - yeah.

COULTON: ...Safety gear thing.

RETTA: Do they wear pads? Yeah. That's what I'm going with.

EISENBERG: OK. So I feel like our general answer is, like, it's a safety thing.

RETTA: Yeah.

EISENBERG: All right. Let's find out. You weren't allowed to pass the puck forwards...


EISENBERG: ...On offense.

COULTON: Oh, boy.

EISENBERG: Originally in hockey, only lateral or backward passes were allowed.

COULTON: Oh, that's - right. That's a rugby thing, right?

EISENBERG: That is a rugby thing.

COULTON: You run it forward, but you pass it back or lateral. Yeah.


COULTON: Also helmets.

EISENBERG: Oh, our producer just told me that we were onto something because helmets used to be optional.

RETTA: Oh. Oh, wow.

EISENBERG: So we we accidentally got another fact.


EISENBERG: We got another fact in the bag.

COULTON: That's the nature of Fact Bag.

EISENBERG: All right. This is the final one. In the mid-'90s, what did the Fox television network experiment with to try to boost hockey ratings?

RETTA: Cheerleaders?

EISENBERG: That's a good idea.


EISENBERG: That is a great idea. Why are there no cheerleaders?

RETTA: I don't know.

EISENBERG: Right? Ice Capades?

RETTA: That's why they they put the ice girls in those half shirts - 'cause there's no cheerleaders (laughter).

EISENBERG: Right. Right. That's why they have them. It's, like, something. I think I know the answer to this, actually.

COULTON: Oh, you do?

EISENBERG: Yeah, because in Canada we make fun of this. I believe Fox TV felt that Americans could not follow the puck, and so they added a blue light to the puck...

RETTA: Oh, God, that's hilarious.

EISENBERG: ...So Americans could follow the puck and maybe enjoy the game.

COULTON: (Laughter).

RETTA: It's true. I can't follow it.

EISENBERG: It's very small.

RETTA: I just wait for everybody to cheer. It's like, oh, we scored.


RETTA: Does anyone want to challenge me on that?

COULTON: No, I'm not going to challenge a Canadian on a hockey fact.


EISENBERG: Fox used augmented reality to make the puck appear to glow on television and change colors depending on how fast it was moving.


EISENBERG: So - and the system used special hockey pucks that were embedded with infrared sensors to allow computers to track the puck. And according to Slate, surveys found that new hockey viewers loved it. Existing hockey fans loved it.

RETTA: (Laughter) Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


EISENBERG: (Laughter). All right. Our Fact Bag is empty. We have learned a lot of facts. Fantastic. Congratulations, Retta.

RETTA: (Laughter) Thank you.


EISENBERG: Thank you for being part of our Fact Bag.


EISENBERG: Season 2 of "Good Girls" is on NBC Sunday nights. Everyone give it up for Retta.

(CHEERING) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.