The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the Stanley Cup playoffs as a heavy favorite to reach the Cup finals out of the Eastern Conference. But after opening the first round with a 5-0 win over the Islanders, the team's defense has been torched and is unable to hold leads thanks in no part by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury letting in soft goals every game.
But instead of panicking over the team's Cup dreams fading away, general manager Ray Shero has turned to Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University for help in creating a goalie via the school's 3D printer.
"I'm not willing to sit still and watch this team die," said Shero. "Not after the regular season we had and all the trades we made. Marc simply hasn't done the job and our backup, Tomas Vokoun, is almost 37. He can't be expected to play every game in the playoffs. So creating a real, functioning goalie with a 3D printer was the best option."
Carnegie Mellon engineering professor Dr. Emmett Moncrief handled the job for the Penguins.
"I have actually had the designs of a prototype since last year when Fleury let in every shot against the Flyers," he said. "I knew it would be the same this year. I wasn't surprised when Mr. Shero called."
The 3D goalie performed well this morning in a Penguins practice.
"It pretty much just stands there in the shape of a goalie, so it doesn't make any spectacular saves," said head coach Dan Bylsma. "But it also makes the easy saves any goalie over the age of 10 should make all the time, which is more than what we've had. I feel confident moving ahead in the series."