Written by E. Spencer Kyte for AmongMen.com
The wait is finally over!
Over the weekend, the Toronto Maple Leafs secured themselves a place in the NHL Playoffs, bringing an end to a drought that feels like it has lasted forever and a day.
This spring will be filled with meaningful hockey and positive talk about the future of this franchise, not the usual two months of watching 16 other teams embark on their quest to win 16 more games and deliver a championship to their fans.
And save all the "shortened season" talk too -- no one was dogging LeBron James and the Miami Heat for taking home the Larry O'Brien Trophy last season after playing a compressed scheduled.
Let Leafs Nation enjoy this; they've been waiting for this moment for quite some time. How long? We're glad you asked.
With Toronto's hockey back in the NHL Playoffs for the first time in a long time, we thought it would be fun to show you just how long it really has been since the boys in blue and white chased the Stanley Cup by looking back at what was hot and happening in the world of entertainment in 2004.
By the way - a tip of the cap to all those long-suffering Leafs fans out there who kept the faith, continued supporting The Buds, and are undoubtedly going bat-shit crazy that their boys are back in the playoffs now!
Onto the list.
The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs made the NHL Playoffs...
• A "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl got all kinds of people all kinds of upset.
• Starting goaltender James Reimer was 16-years-old.
• Anderson Silva was still two years away from making his UFC debut, Georges St-Pierre was preparing for his second UFC fight, and Jon Jones was 17.
• Mean Girls made Lindsay Lohan a mega-star, and she seemed destined for an incredibly successful career.
• Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me" was the song of the summer, and her big sister Jessica was still starring on Newlyweds with her then-husband Nick Lachey.
• Kevin Federline was a thing. So was Ed Hardy. Ugh.
• Head coach Randy Carlyle had yet to coach a single NHL game.
• Lost hadn't started, and we were just getting to know Vince, Eric, Drama, Turtle, and Ari on Entourage.
• Kanye West's debut album, The College Dropout, had only been on shelves for a couple months.
• Hoobastank was blowing up the radio with "The Reason," Usher, Lil Jon, and Ludacris had everybody saying, "Yeah!" and erbody in the club was gettin' "Tipsy" with J-Kwon.
• Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin weren't in the league yet.
• Dane Cook was doing HBO specials and a whole lot of people thought he was the funniest human being on the planet. Coincidentally, most of those people have since been eaten by bears.
• Two of the actual funniest human beings ever to walk these lands, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, were still with us.
• The movie version of Friday Night Lights was in theaters.
• Ron Burgundy had yet to give us oh so many wonderful bon mots to repeat over and over and over again for years on end to the point where our ladyfriends roll their eyes at us like we're idiots. You stay classy, San Diego.
• Napoleon Dynamite hadn't danced his way into our hearts yet.
• The Notebook had just started being every girls all-time favourite movie. "I love Ryan Gosling so much he's so gorgeous oh my god!"
• LeBron James was just wrapping up his rookie season in the NBA. "Taking his talents to South Beach" was the furthest thing from his mind. Eddie Belfour was between the pipes, Bryan McCabe was the top defenseman, and Pat Quinn was behind the bench.
• Leafs fans believed "this is our year!" and have every year since, God bless their resilient hearts.