When my Leafs defeated the Sens last night, we secured a playoff spot for the first time since 2004. That was nine long years ago.
So what's new? My favourite barometer for measuring our playoff drought is my daughter Michelle. She's turning nine this summer. The Leafs haven't played a playoff game since she was born.
The last time the Leafs played a playoff game, I was in my 20s. Really. I WAS IN MY 20s.
Sure, this blog was active, here's an entry about our last playoff game in which Karel Pilar scored a big goal before Mats Sundin scored late to force overtime. (That's right, I wrote Karel Pilar.) But there was no Twitter. There wasn't even YouTube. Facebook was just for Harvard students. And we all watched the Leafs in standard definition. And if you had a cell phone, it was likely not a smartphone. Compare the television and phone you owned in 2004 to the ones you use today.
I big tradition in my family has always been my brothers (and sometimes mom) coming over to watch Leafs playoff games. We'd all wear our jerseys and go crazy for the blue and white. Neither of my brothers had kids last time we did this. Now they both do, and just like my daughter, one of my nephews is almost nine.
I could go on.... nine years is a long time. What matters now is that the drought is officially over. The Leafs are in the playoffs and playing a fun brand of hockey I've enjoyed all season. But make no mistake... if we're going to advance a round or two, it will be because of this remarkable young man.