While the front office continued to iron out the final details of the Paul Wright trade to the San Diego Sockers yesterday, the Baltimore Blast players were trying to figure out how another game got away.
But the answers shouldn't be too hard to find after Friday night's 8-6 loss to the Wichita Wings in Wichita, Kan.
It was the same story as last season's stretch dive for the Blast (a 5-18 finish after 16-13 start). Again, Baltimore gave up too many goals off free kicks, couldn't hold early leads, didn't capitalize on its shots and wasn't sharp on defense.
Also, the Blast's new goalkeeper, Cris Vaccaro, continued to give up too many goals (15 in two games).
So far, the new-look Blast (0-2) appears to be on its way to producing a rerun of last season.
Baltimore will attempt to start some new programming tonight against the Tacoma Stars at the Baltimore Arena at 6:05.
Going back to last season, Baltimore has lost 10 of its past 11 games, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
Maybe the team needs some distractions, such as a speedy Wright on the squad, or some untapped talent -- a Jean Harbor perhaps.
Blast coach Kenny Cooper said Wednesday he thought that making room for Wright on the 16-man roster might lead to "some distractions."
And he said earlier this month that he could not give Harbor (the Maryland Bays star who is being sought by the U.S. National team) a contract before he came to camp because he has not proven himself as an indoor player.
But it appears the Blast needs some kind of impact player. Especially since Bruce Savage, Tim Wittman, Scott Manning and Dale Mitchell are gone.
Those four players were a major part of last year's team that lost 20 games by one goal and still won 21 games. If they had won just 10 of those one-goal setbacks, Baltimore would have finished two games ahead of the Cleveland Crunch in first place.
One more win last season would have put Baltimore in the playoffs.
So why break up a team that was ever so close to winning enough games to finish on top?
Owner Ed Hale and Cooper may have to answer that question a lot of times before this season is over if the current collection of players doesn't soon start producing some wins.
The importance of each game this season is magnified since there are only 40 games to play instead of 52 and three teams instead of two will not make the playoffs.
In the 8-6 loss to Wichita, Baltimore gave up two goals off free kicks that gave the Wings an 8-5 lead. The Blast also squandered a 4-2, second-quarter lead and outshot Wichita, 31-29.
In two games, the Blast has outshot its opponents, 73-49, but has been outscored 15-9.
NOTES: Sockers spokesman Tim Latta said yesterday the two teams "were squabbling over the small details" of the deal that will send Wright back to the Sockers for $10,000 in cash and a third-round draft pick in 1992. "We're past the element of the hurdles of the trade and everybody is ready to get on with their lives," said Latta. "The things that are now being settled are tiny details like whether San Diego should begin paying Paul on the 14th or the 15th of the month. We're hoping to complete it very soon."
Wright, who was claimed last June on waivers by the Blast but never reported to the team, remained in San Diego yesterday and did not fly to Baltimore since the trade appears imminent.