The Bruins used some tough tactics in their interviews.

The Bruins used some tough tactics in their interviews.

MONTREAL — The Boston Bruins’ front office personnel always preaches that they want the team on the ice to be hard to play against.

Little did anyone know that the degree of difficulty also translated to the process for interviewing prospective draft picks. At the combine in Toronto a few weeks ago, Boston left an impression on a couple of the top prospects for this weekend’s 2009 NHL Entry Draft, which takes place at Bell Centre Friday and Saturday, with its approach to interviewing.

“It was my last one, so I was ready to get out of there. But there was like 12 guys in that room, so it was a little nerve-wracking. I was just dead by then,” said Spokane (Western Hockey League) defenseman Jared Cowen, the CSS ninth-ranked North American skater heading into the draft, after the top prospects luncheon. “I think it was (the most intimidating), just because there were so many guys. They grilled me with a lot of questions.”

Cowen, who said he hasn’t met with Boston since, recalled the toughest question being about a particular game when he didn’t play well. Fellow defenseman John Moore, the sixth-ranked skater according to CSS, went through a similar experience with the Bruins. He said the dozen or so interview really “gave it” to him, including Hall-of-Famer Cam Neely, the club’s vice president.

“They try to get you going, see what your true colors are like. Not only the interviewers, but for the kids, those are long days,” said Moore, who revealed he also met with Boston a couple times in Chicago, where he’d been playing for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. “The room was packed to the gills and I couldn’t wait until that one was over. Looking back though, it was a great experience.”

So while we don’t know who the Bruins will pick tomorrow night at No. 25, or if they’ll move up or down from that spot, we know the prospective farm hand will have proved his mental toughness in the eyes of the club’s front office long before he gets to the podium.