It’s not everyday that Los Angelinos get a chance to report to work wearing hockey jerseys in the middle of summer in Downtown LA.
Such was the case on Aug. 14, as dozens of actors flooded the lot of the 20th Century Fox studios sporting New York Rangers jerseys and sweatshirts as the magic of Hollywood transformed Stage 22 of the Fox lot into Madison Square Garden for a taping of the popular CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”
For those of you not in the know with the show, the highly rated sitcom follows the love life of Ted Mosby, and his quest to find the one. The story is told past tense by Ted in the year 2030, as he tells his children literally “How I met Your Mother,” hence the title.
Two of his friends, Robin Scherbatsky played by Cobie Smulders, and Barney Stinson played by the legendary Neil Patrick Harris, have had an on-again, off-again romance that hit its apex this past season as Barney declared his love for Robin and Robin returned the sentiment.
However, Barney is not exactly boyfriend material with his beer-chugging, suit-wearing woman-chasing bachelor ways, so Robin is still on the market and has a date with Brad at a Canucks-Rangers hockey game in this particular episode.
“I love dates at hockey games,” said Smulders. “I think dates should be an adventure, something fun. My first date with my [boyfriend actor Taran Killam], we went to play mini golf. You have to have an activity. That is the best way to do it.
“If the date sucks, at least you went to a hockey game.”
Hockey is a part of life for the beautiful Canadian actress and former model Smulders, who grew up in Vancouver and had a huge crush on Pavel Bure growing up.
“I am really into the Sedins right now,” she admitted, “it’s hard to choose which Sedin twin I like more. I think they are really good players, but the fact that they both re-signed with Vancouver, maybe it is a girly thing, but I think maybe the brothers just want to be together.”
Girly is not exactly the way to describe the character Smulders plays, who is a bit of a tomboy that loves all sports and played hockey until she kissed one of her teammates in front of her dad in a flash back in one of the earlier seasons.
The part is perfect for Smulders, whose life at times parallels that of her character.
“Growing up in Canada, I think you are really drawn to team sports. We come out of the womb and they put skates on us and initiation is if you can make it on the (frozen) lake,” the actress said jokingly. “There are some parallels between Robin and I, the guys sort of met me and they thought they would make Robin a Canadian and that would be exotic.
“I don’t know that I ever put the words exotic and Canadian together.”
One of the guys, Chuck Tatham, How I Met Your Mother’s Co-executive producer, sees hockey as a plot the show can continue to explore.
“Robin as a Canadian is a plot line for the show and one of the writers said let’s get [Robin and Brad] at a Rangers game because obviously the Brad character knows she’ll enjoy a hockey game,” said Tatham, who is a big hockey fan and has worked on such shows as “Back to You,” “Arrested Development,” “The Ellen Show” and “Full House,” amongst others. “I could talk about hockey all day, but people might take a fire axe to their television sets.”
Hockey plays a big role in the plot of this episode. Brad and Robin are on their date at the Rangers-Canucks game, with Robin the lone Canucks jersey in a sea of Red, White and Ranger blue.
Brad has a Rangers comfy throw and a foam finger in support of the home team.
“Come on Hordichuk, you miss another ‘gimme’ like that and I will put a slap shot right up your beer hole. COME ON!” Robin screams as two Canucks and two Rangers skate by on roller blades in front of makeshift boards.
Then the Kiss Cam focuses in on the couple.
“I just go for it, if the Kiss Cam is on me,” said Smulders tongue-in-cheek. “I just grab the closest guy and go for it.”
The guy she grabs in this scene is Brad, played by Joe Manganiello, a Pittsburgh native and Penguins fan who has also appeared in such shows as “CSI,” “One Tree Hill” and “ER.”
“Why not man? I am always ready for the Kiss Cam,” he said. “If I took her to a Penguins game, chances are they are going to win, and that might make it a nice night.”
Ironically, Manganiello is friends with former NHL enforcer Brantt Myhres, who wracked up 687 penalty minutes in 154 games with the Lightning, Flyers, Sharks and Bruins.
“I used to be his sparring partner,” he said.
His partner in this episode is a little better looking, and he doesn’t get punched, at least not by her…We won’t play spoiler here for you How I Met Your Mother fans, but let’s just say Barney makes an appearance.
The season premiere is Monday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. on CBS.