Peter Luukko says that speculation he was forced from his job as president and Chief Operating Officer of Comcast-Spectacor is ``ridiculous''.
He didn't really say why it was ridiculous. And for the life of me, the only part that seems ridiculous is that a self-described ``hockey guy'' would resign amid a tumultuous hockey season and a few months shy of hosting an NCAA Final Four he helped to procure to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities that are not on the immediate or even near horizon.
``If I want to do something else,'' he told the Philadelphia Business Journal Tuesday. ``This is probably the right time.''
I guess I just don't understand business.
But at the risk of sounding ridiculous, let me try.
Luukko wore many hats for Ed Snider and by all accounts did a bang-up job at most of them, but the one he is most associated with is overseeing the hockey team. And for awhile, that was a really good thing for him.
Snider owns 25 percent of Comcast-Spectacor, and the deal designates that he will run the Flyers as long as he wishes or lives. Luukko has been his right-hand man throughout that partnership and from the point that Bobby Clarke stepped down as team president to Patrick Kane's phantom goal in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Luukko appropriately received credit for rejuvenating the prized franchise.
Signing Chris Pronger hurt in the long run, but the team does not make the Finals without him. And if he didn't suffer that gruesome eye injury? Who knows, but Pronger's shortened career can not be laid at the feet of Luukko or anyone else. It was the right move for the right time and if Pronger had put even a few more seasons in, maybe the Ilya Bryzgalov chapter evolves differently, and thus so does the last two seasons.
But that's not what occurred, leading to Ed Snider's current standing with a fandom no longer dominated by people who were at the parade. It's not the first time they've been this mad. But it might be the first time they've been this mad since Comcast was in charge.
No doubt, Luukko's stewardship has been a bumpy one over the last two seasons. Still, I believe Snider (no, that's not ridiculous!) when he says the resignation caught him by surprise. What's curious to me that it did not seem to sneak up on anyone at the big company. Luukko's resignation was announced simultaneously with his replacements, both of whom came from Comcast. And although Luukko labeled thoughts of him as Snider's obvious successor, ``morbid'', Snider readily addressed it with Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Sam Carchidi earlier this week.
``We never talked about it,'' said Snider. ``But I felt when I stepped down, he would be the logical guy. But it would have been up to Comcast.''
So, to sum it up. Luukko's resignation stunned Snider. But not Comcast. ``Forced'' might be too strong of a word, but what if Luukko was made aware that Comcast did not see him as the logical successor to Snider?
Call me ridiculous, but that sure makes more sense to me than a hockey guy suddenly stepping down in the middle of a season with no immediate prospects in sight.