A time-skip is a time-honored tradition in shounen manga. One of my favorites is the one Dragon Ball had before the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament. We leave Goku a kid who doesn't even come up to most people's waists and by the time the three years are done, we are introduced to him as grown man.
It was a pretty awesome moment.
Naturally, when Naruto left to train with Jiraya for over two years, countless expectations were created within us.