COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Some things never change no matter what city it is. Danny Gare was standing in the hallway Friday, getting a picture taken with a woman wearing a Buffalo Sabres jersey emblazoned with Gare's name and retired No. 18.
One of Gare's co-workers in Nationwide Arena remarked, "Did you get tickets for her?"
The man known as "Tickets" for his ability to secure loads of ducats during his time in Buffalo smiled and shook his head no. But the popularity Gare enjoys in Buffalo has made its way to Columbus, where he does color commentary on the Blue Jackets' television broadcasts.
"The fans have been great," Gare said. "They're very loyal fans, but I think they're still understanding the game since the team's only been here since 2000, so I try to do a little teaching on the broadcasts, give them a little bit of an idea of what they should be looking for."
Gare spent much of Friday catching up with his old fans and co-workers from the Sabres. The Buffalo Hall of Fame right winger is in the first season of a three-year deal with FSN Ohio, and he's enjoying the start. He lives three blocks from the arena, which also houses the Blue Jackets' practice rink, so he's never far from the team.
"The change is always good," Gare said. "It's tough, obviously, to leave Buffalo, but the opportunity came up and I wanted to get back into the game and get back to broadcasting. . . . It's only four, five hours from Buffalo, so I have gotten back to see my daughters and my granddaughter once in a while."
Henrik Tallinder missed his 10th straight game with a sprained ankle, while forward Jiri Novotny missed his first game with the same injury.
Tallinder practiced Thursday and was 50-50 on his prospects of playing. He and the Sabres decided at least one more day of rest would be best. The defenseman could be in the lineup tonight when the Sabres face the New York Islanders in Nassau County Coliseum.
The Sabres recalled Daniel Paille from Rochester to replace Novotny. Paille, paired with center Derek Roy and right wing Maxim Afinogenov, has now played on all four forward lines. Left wing Jochen Hecht returned from his lower-body injury and started with center Chris Drury and right wing Ales Kotalik.
If Buffalo had a bustling and entertaining arena district, it would look just like the area near Nationwide Arena. As in, it would be awash in blue and gold -- with a mix of red and black thrown in.
The restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies and elevators were filled with Sabres fans, and the streets were lined with New York license plates. The fans stormed into the arena when the doors opened at 6 p.m., chanting, "Let's go, Buffalo" and, "Let's go Sabres."
An usher said fans of Detroit and Toronto make notable impressions when their teams visit, but he said nothing compared to Friday night. It was impossible to take two steps in the concourse without seeing a Sabre jersey.