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Merrimack Valley

May 1, 2014

B's-Habs grudge match goes local

Haverhill man, granddaughter separated by rivalry

55 years after crossing the U.S. border and eventually settling in Lawrence, one thing hasn’t changed for Montreal native Yvon Pinet.

“I love the Canadiens,” said the 76-year-old former carpenter, who lives with his daughter’s family in Haverhill, in broken English. “How can I not? I was born in Canada. My favorite all-time player was Maurice Richard. I always root for the Canadiens. Always.”

There is one problem. His 17-year-old granddaughter, Marlayna Buco, lives in the same house. And while we won’t get into her true feelings about the Canadiens — “They are weak!” she said — her love of the Bruins is, she says, unconditional.

“I love the way they play,” said Marlayna, whose bedroom is adorned with Bruins pictures and posters. “They’re tough. They’re exciting. Hockey is my favorite sport. It’s never boring. And I love the Bruins.”

The grandfather-granddaughter grudge match started in earnest on Tuesday at dinner, shortly after the NHL finally announced the series schedule, with opening night tonight at the T.D. Garden at 7:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Channel).

“It’s the same argument he always uses. He started talking about the Bruins being too rough and always hitting,” Marlayna said. “I said, ‘No, it’s that the Canadiens are too weak.’ He likes the skating. I like the hitting. So we disagree there.”

The arbiter in this battle is the one in the middle, Pinet’s daughter and Marlayna’s mom, Christine Pinet-Buco, who is enjoying the matchup from afar.

“I’ve come to learn with these two that it’s better not to root against anybody,” said Pinet-Buco. “My dad started a carpentry business here and he brought with him a love of hockey. When they start arguing, he seems to throw in, ‘Who gave you hockey? Canada!’ I do enjoy the fact they really love their teams.”

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