A lamp flashes behind the net inside United Center. A horn loud enough to rattle your teeth blares from the hanging scoreboard. An infectious drum beat begins. Then feet start moving, hands clap, thousands of red towels wave and there's enough rear-end shaking to make Shakira jealous. Soon, a crowd of more than 20,000 delirious Hawks fans become engrossed in the "Do, do, do ... do, do, do ..." chorus of a song called "Chelsea Dagger."
It's sung by the Fratellis, a relatively obscure English band whose popular song also gained fame for being used in a beer commercial. It's now become synonymous with the Blackhawks -- to the point where people in Chicago subconsciously hum the tune, players know the lyrics and even the city's piano bars are getting requests for it.
It may also be the most polarizing ditty in professional sports -- fraying the nerves of opposing players and fans while making Chicagoans absolutely giddy.
"It's always a good feeling to hear it, because that means we're scoring goals," said Hawks forward Troy Brouwer, who was personally the cause of "Do, do, doing," twice in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Philadelphia Flyers. "It's a pretty catchy song, but if you hear it too many times it can get annoying. I can understand that for sure."
The Vancouver Canucks can, too. The Hawks' bitter rival in the Western Conference heard the goal song played seven times in a series-deciding loss to Chicago in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and were in no mood to hear it much more during this postseason. Before the series, which the Hawks won 4-2, television station BC Global even went to the length of taking an iPod into the Canucks' dressing room to record player reactions to hearing "Chelsea Dagger."
The video clip has become popular on YouTube, after eliciting comical responses such as defenseman Kevin Bieksa's.
"Worst song in hockey," he says, upon recognizing the tune. "I don't even want to listen to it anymore. I was in the press box last game in Chicago, and I heard it six times -- and I was cringing every time. So we all know about that song in this room -- and we all hate it."
They're not alone. Many are watching the Cup Final on national television and just now getting exposed to a subdued-sounding version. In turn, Internet message boards are filling up with those who ardently dislike the Hawks' celebration jingle.
The bad news for them is that it's going to stick around for a while.
"That song has become the goal song for the Chicago Blackhawks," said Dave Knickerbocker, the Blackhawks' senior executive director of marketing and business development. "Our fans really enjoy it and there are no plans to change it anytime soon."
Knickerbocker, who came to the Hawks from the Chicago Cubs in February 2009, said the team was using "Chelsea Dagger" occasionally before he joined the organization -- but they were also using select songs for individual players.
When Jonathan Toews
scored, they played "Johnny B Goode." When Patrick Kane
scored, it was "Rock me like a Hurricane." Patrick Sharp
goals led to ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man."
Then the 2009 playoffs started -- and the sound of the Fratellis took over full-time.
"It was a collaboration between a lot of people in the marketing department," Knickerbocker said, when asked whose idea it was to use it. "There had been a whole lot of trial and error trying to find a signature song, and then we noticed the crowd really enjoyed celebrating whenever we played (‘Chelsea Dagger') after goals."
The rest is "do, do, doing" history.
"We're all very pleased with the results," Knickerbocker said. "Anytime somebody in the front office hears it, they usually start humming it under their breath. It reminds you of something great that has happened for the Blackhawks. I find myself doing the same thing."
Occasionally, Hawks players on the bench do, too.
"I think it's just stuck in our heads," center Dave Bolland
said after Game 1, when he lit the lamp and found himself singing along. "I know the whole song by heart by now."
Teammate Adam Burish does, too, but isn't quite as apt to "do, do, do," along with the Fratellis. At least, not when it's getting as much play time as it did in the Hawks' 6-5 Game 1 win.
"That's too many goals," Burish said. "I was even sick of that song. I was tired of it. That was a lot to take."
The Flyers would probably agree after hearing it more than they'd care to remember on this trip to the Windy City. If the Hawks ultimately win the Cup, the Flyers will probably understand how Vancouver star center Henrik Sedin feels.
On the aforementioned YouTube clip, Sedin hears the music, then the, "Do, do, do ... do, do, do," and just shakes his head. He pulls the headphones off, and his response says it all about the power of "Chelsea Dagger."
"Bad memories," he says, backing away from the camera crew. "Bad memories ... bad memories."
Author: Brian Hedger | NHL.com Correspondent