McCallum exit was key to Capitals’ collapse – goalie

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Back-up goalie Kevin Forshall believes if Edinburgh Capitals hadn’t suffered a series of injuries and a string of unsettled players, they could have been preparing for a crack at silverware at next month’s play-off finals weekend in Nottingham.

Edinburgh may have nothing but pride to play for as they take on Dundee home and away in ice hockey’s Elite League this weekend, but Forshall is excited to get his first start of the season tomorrow (5.30pm) – and his first at Murrayfield since playing for Caps in the British National League over a decade ago.

Forshall said: “A couple of weeks ago, (player coach) Riley Emmerson told me he would be looking to give both me and (Scottish National League netminder) Craig Mallinson a start this weekend. Craig can’t make it, though, so I think I might get them both.”

Forshall, 31, who has only featured once this season as a mid-game replacement for regular No.1 Carsen Chubak in a 13-9 home loss to Manchester Storm, has spent 16 years at Murrayfield. Looking back at a difficult season for the Caps, he pinpointed the shock departure of forward Craig McCallum last November as a real turning point in their campaign.

Edinburgh, who when McCallum left sat fourth in the league, have only won two games since the Canadian retired from the sport for personal reasons. Forshall said: “I feel for everyone at the club. The start of the season looked so promising, I reckon we could have been a top-three team and could have been down at Nottingham this year if it wasn’t for all the mishaps. On paper, we had a good team. I don’t know what it was, maybe we didn’t gel properly, maybe a couple of the guys had personal issues or didn’t like the way the club was run, I’m not sure. McCallum was a really quiet guy. Nobody knew he was going to leave and it was all very sudden. After he was gone, things really started falling apart. He was a great player, a real playmaker with a good eye.”

The reality is that, with a total of seven players asking to be released early from their contract – on top of five suffering season-ending injuries – even a team with far greater resources than Edinburgh would have struggled to cope.