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For those about to rank - December 2021 uniform matchups

The CBJ played poorly last month, but did they at least look good?

Columbus Blue Jackets v Seattle Kraken Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

And we’re back! Through Covid cancellations and all, the Blue Jackets have completed another month of their schedule, which means it’s time to bring back For Those About to Rank! Though originally scheduled to play 14 games to finish off 2021, Columbus’s games against Calgary, Buffalo, Toronto, and Chicago were postponed until the Olympic break. That leaves nine games to sort by increasing order of aesthetic appeal.

Remember, we’re not only ranking based off individual jerseys, but also how well those jerseys complement each other. For more of an explanation, check out the October and November entries. And credit to Hockey by Design’s Worst to First series for the inspiration behind this.

#9 - Ducks Away at Blue Jackets Home (December 9, 2-1 SO Loss)

Anaheim Ducks v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

This wasn’t particularly close. Anaheim has easily the worst jerseys in their conference (and, aside from Washington, the NHL as a whole), using those weird angled side panels, an awful color scheme, and adding massive yokes that serve as a black hole for your visual attention. The orange, while a beautiful color most of the time, serves as a double negative here, clashing with the CBJ’s red pants and the Ducks’ own beige color. The navy vs black issue also doesn’t help, nor the business of Anaheim’s away overcompensating for the plainness of the Columbus home. It’s just a mess.

#8 - Sharks Away at Blue Jackets Home (December 5, 6-4 Win)

San Jose Sharks v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

The game four days prior versus San Jose was basically a less traumatizing version of the Anaheim game. You still have a three-way clash (teal, navy, black) and an off-putting pair (orange and red). To a much lesser extent you also have the stylistic clash, though the lack of a hem stripe for the Sharks makes their set borderline modern. But there’s a new problem: it looks boring. Columbus has too much navy, as I’ve been over many times. The teal in San Jose’s set is completely drowned out by the black surrounding it, leaving their thin little orange stripe the one pop of color. It’s such a waste of a beautiful color scheme. Their 1990s set? Glorious. Their Reebok set? Eternally underrated. But this? Man. Heartbreaking to us design nerds.

#7 - Predators Away at Blue Jackets Alternate (December 30, 4-3 SO Win)

Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Emilee Chinn/NHLI via Getty Images

Speaking of heartbreaking... this matchup. There are exactly two teams that I think our alternates should never be worn against: the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators. Why? Massive amounts of yellow. As good as those cannon jerseys are, they do predominantly feature vintage white, and vintage white is a color you have to be very careful with. It tends to clash against grey (the one issue with this jersey), pure white, orange, and in this case, yellow. Which means this matchup has a rare four-way color blob, with grey, vintage white, yellow, and pure white all coming together into a big muddled hodgepodge of disappointment. Throw in the fact that the Preds also have a mediocre-at-best-and-that’s-being-generous, way-too-bright away, and this game plummets down to third-last. At least we almost have the same pants? That’s kinda neat.

#6 - Blue Jackets Away at Canucks Alternate (December 14, 4-3 Loss)

NHL: DEC 14 Blue Jackets at Canucks Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The top six all feature the Blue Jackets’ road jersey, so it just becomes a matter of which jerseys serve as the best hosts. And while it may seem at first glance like the Canucks’ alternate would be a fine candidate to take the top spot, thanks to the glory of complementary colors, it actually falls pretty flat. The Canucks made the interesting decision to go with striping that features shades of green and blue that, though, beautiful, are pretty similar, and then not include any white in that striping whatsoever. It’s the same problem as San Jose. However, all of the numbers and logos are mainly white. This creates a jersey that simultaneously has too much contrast and not enough contrast, creating a jarring vibe that more than offsets the good in the matchup.

#5 - Blue Jackets Away at Stars Alternate (December 2, 3-2 Loss)

NHL: DEC 02 Blue Jackets at Stars Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dallas’ third is pretty similar to Vancouver’s, but just executed better. While the tennis ball green almost loses the complementary color effect with the red pants, that’s more than made up for by the better theming. Inspired by the neon skyline of Dallas, with a Texas state flag subtly integrated into the collar, and a badass color scheme with incredible detailing. The “modern classic” vibe also better fits what the CBJ away is going for. And it even matches Tarasov’s mask!

#4 - Blue Jackets Away at Oilers Home (December 16, 5-2 Loss)

Columbus Blue Jackets v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Like the Ducks matchup at the bottom of this list, there is some orange vs red clash. Unlike that game, that is the only problem with this matchup. There is a lot to like here. The matching blue yokes play off of each other wonderfully. Stylistically, they both have a similar theme; evoking previous jersey eras, Gretzky’s teams for the Oilers, 80s Leafs for the Blue Jackets. That theming means a cohesive look between the teams, which helps the game look more coordinated, similar to the Devils-Blue Jackets game that was runner-up for October. If not for the orange-red clash, this game could’ve also boomed up to the top two.

#3 - Blue Jackets Away at Maple Leafs Home (December 7, 5-4 Loss)

Columbus Blue Jackets v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

This one’s kinda weird to me. As mentioned above, the Blue Jackets away draws heavy inspiration from the Maple Leafs’ 1970s and 80s look, with the blue full-length yoke on a white base. Merits of that jersey aside, it results in their games almost looking like an intersquad scrimmage, or an alumni vs current roster game. It still looks good, no doubt about it, they’re both white and blue designs, with the red pants of the Blue Jackets to separated them from Toronto. But it also is kinda weird. Maybe that’s just the jersey nerd in me coming out, but those are the vibes I get. Let me know if I’m crazy in the comments.

#2 - Blue Jackets Away at Kraken Home (December 11, 5-4 OT Win)

Columbus Blue Jackets v Seattle Kraken Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

There’s always a couple games that start in one slot in the rankings before changing wildly as the article was written. This is that matchup. Originally, I was going to make a similar pitch to the San Jose game about the boring, monochrome, navy-heavy looks. But, as I rewatched some highlights, I found myself liking it more and more. I’d underestimated the navy and red combination, especially how both sets have thin red lines running about as an accent. And the Kraken’s jerseys are just spectacular. The ice blue pops off the navy wonderfully, the logo looks fantastic, and the fact there’s no white allows Columbus to own that color within the matchup. It looks good, but not enough for the top spot.

#1 - Blue Jackets Away at Capitals Alternate (December 4, 3-1 Loss)

Columbus Blue Jackets v Washington Capitals Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

Which leaves first place to... Washington? In a jersey ranking? Is that even legal? Yes it is, because these jerseys were made for each other. The Capitals, in a modern take on classic jersey design, have a navy jersey with a white yoke and red striping, using a modern font in white, and have a tasteful number of stars thrown on for good measure. The Jackets, in a modern take on classic jersey design, have a white jersey with a navy yoke and red pants, using a modern font in white on the arms, and have a tasteful number of stars thrown on for good measure. It’s almost perfect! If Columbus’ uniform was just a bit more well executed, maybe with actual striping and stuff, this would be one of the best games this year, aesthetically, league-wide.

There we have it! Shorter than expected, but fun nonetheless. Let me know what you guys think, and we’ll see you next month!