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Ashton returned to the Pats

From Greg Harder's Slap Shots....

Ashton returned by Tampa
Christmas came early for the Regina Pats on Friday.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are sending LW Carter Ashton back to junior. So much for all the hysteria and assumptions about him playing in the NHL this season.

It's a bit of a surprise that he's coming back this soon, but not a shock that it's happening. It takes an exceptional case in addition to being in the right place at the right time for a player to crack the NHL at age 19. The stars didn't align for Ashton, who now gets a chance to show if he can dominate at the WHL level this season in addition to perhaps playing for Canada at the world juniors.

The Pats are still working on getting Ashton to Brandon for tonight's game. Not sure if it'll happen or not but Thomas Frazee is expected to make his debut.

With the additions of Ashton and Frazee, the Pats' lineup suddenly looks a lot bigger — and a whole lot better.

** UPDATE **

Ashton is not expected to rejoin the Pats in time for tonight's game. He's still in Edmonton with the Lightning, who lost 5-2 to the Oilers on Thursday. Ashton scored a goal in his second straight game, which is part of the reason it's a little surprising he's on his way back already.

This should certainly make for an interesting home-opener on Sunday against the Wheat Kings. Barring injuries, the Pats should have all hands on deck (Ashton, Frazee, Weal, etc.). We'll see what they can do.

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