Prospects have a ball, bond to be better Bruins

WILMINGTON, Mass. — After two grueling on-ice sessions Friday, it was time for the Bruins’ prospects at the fifth annual development camp to let loose.

The organization took them out to Boston Paintball in Maynard for a showdown, which the players decided would pit the major-junior players against their NCAA counterparts (plus a few randoms sprinkled in).

Brains won out over brawn, according to Ryan Button of the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League.

“I think they outsmarted us,” said Button, who was sporting several welts from the action. “That shows that the college kids are actually smarter than the major junior guys. I think the major junior guys got a couple more welts. We’ve got a little bit more character, maybe.”

Paintball and other bonding activities the players have done off the ice were a popular topic today after the third day of camp. Assistant general manager Don Sweeney pointed out that although the players were letting loose, there was still a lot to be learned from how they performed.

“You know, you can go and work them for as long as you want over the course of the day. I mean, you’re only going to get so much out of them on and off the ice, to tell you the truth, before they check out,” he explained. “Having gone through training camps and such, I know where the tipping points are for kids. So we try … to find some people that are kind of thinking outside the box. … This year, the nutrition class, and having the people kind of give these guys a leg up in how they prepare a meal and what they shop for, nutritionally, and such, is an important thing.

“I mean, the paintball is certainly, on the surface, is kind of a fun afternoon. But, you know, they decided to play college against junior. There’s little things, nuances, that fall into place there when guys kind of sneak around and I think you learn about people. You learn about future teammates is really what that comes down to.”

Button, a 2009 third-round pick, agreed it was a great place to spend a fun night during his third development camp.

“It was a great bonding experience,” he said. “Every year we’ve done something different. It was nice to change it up from this year, obviously paint-balling. I think it comes with the price that you’re going to get a couple welts.”

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