Brendan Shanahan began the New Year pretty much the same way he ended the last year: handing out suspensions.
Here's the video of the hit and Shanahan's explanation.
The review on this one probably didn't take long for the league. It was very evident that the head was the principle point of contact on the play. Cole's shoulder connected square on the jaw of Abdelkader as he entered the offensive zone.
To illustrate how clear-cut of a call this was for him to make, Shanahan referred to this as a "quintessential" example of a bad hit. He went on to say that the hit might not have been intentional, it was reckless -- another word he used multiple times.
The good news is that Abdelkader didn't appear to sustain an injury on the hit. He was a bit wobbly immediately after but did return in the game. It could have easily been much worse.
Also, there was no punishment history to speak of with Cole, so three games is somewhat stiff, it shows how egregious Shanahan saw this hit to be.
I thought Shanahan might have missed on his final few tests of last year -- specifically the Tomas Kopecky/Michael Del Zotto incident as well as the Raffi Torres hit -- but he laid down a fair and just punishment in this case as far as I'm concerned.