'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'

The Ottawa Senators made their first trip to hockey’s Holy Grail — the Stanley Cup Finals — without their most famous fan.

Matthew Perry is in Connecticut this month shooting the dramedy feature “The Laws of Motion” alongside Hilary Swank, and couldn’t make it up to Canada or out to Anaheim (the opposing Ducks play a mere slap shot away from his O.C. digs) to catch any of the games.

Enjoying his work a lot more these days, Perry has no qualms about this sacrifice.

“I now have the luxury where I don’t have to work. I get to choose things that I think will be different from Chandler on ‘Friends'; things that I think will be thought-provoking and good.”

Ironically, Perry had managed to find such an experience right back where it all started, on the NBC primetime sked and on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank in the Aaron Sorkin-created “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

The fictionalized, behind-the-scenes drama tracking the turbulent lives of those who produce a “Saturday Night Live”-like TV show wasn’t able to circumnavigate the precarious primetime gauntlet for a second-season renewal.

But critics and auds were mostly high with praise for Perry, who portrayed Matt Albie, the fictional sketch-comedy show’s sharp-witted, tormented, pill-popping head writer.

In regard to his inspiration for this character, the actor — who endured his fair share of personal torment during his decade-long stint on “Friends” — fearlessly steers the conversation straight through any elephants in the room: “As far as broken show-business people go, this is sort of a mix of what I saw in me and others,” he says.

“I also watched Aaron, who was very anxiety-ridden and serious about getting it right,” he adds.

As far as Emmys go, Perry’s not exactly sure what kind of shot a canceled freshman will have, but he’s hoping the effort of all those involved in “Studio 60″ counts.

“We’re very proud of this show. We were taken off the air, and we still worked 16-hour days. At no point did we say, ‘This isn’t working, let’s chill out.’ “

Favorite scene: Perry cites the entire “Friday Night Slaughter” episode, which chronicles his history with love interest Harriet Hayes.

TV guilty pleasure: “I’m pulled by great material. I know it sounds dorky, but if ‘Studio 60′ were an ice show, I would have showed up for it.”

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