The veteran coach, whose 12-year reign at the Magpies included the 2010 flag, acknowledged his first chance to plot against many of those players at the MCG on Sunday was understandably generating plenty of attention.
But while encouraging the forecast 90,000-strong crowd to give full voice to their feelings, Malthouse intends his own focus to be the same as for any other match.
"To me it's about the players running down the race," Malthouse said at the two clubs' annual breakfast fundraiser for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre on Thursday.
"We also know the media have a role to play and the supporters particularly have a role to play because it's their sides that run down the race.
"There will be a big roar," he acknowledged.
"Does it mean anything to me? Of course it does, because I want my side to win and I'll be doing everything possible.
"The edge to me is I do know some of the players that play for Collingwood, but if I focus on that then to me that's the very thing I coach against - individuality.
"It's all about, and it must be about, the team.
"Therefore I've got to make sure that any emotions I have are all directed towards our team playing as well as they can."
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said his knowledge of Malthouse's coaching style would play into his planning, and he also acknowledged the added emotion in the build-up.
But Buckley said he was maintaining a business-as-usual approach to preparing his side.
"The fact is that, as Mick said, the same number of players will run down the race, we play on the same size field, the aim's going to be the same," Buckley said.
"You're playing with a similar team around you and you expect to perform against any opposition.
"I think it's great for the supporters - obviously the build-up's bigger than I suppose your run-of-the-mill home and away game, but that just makes it a great occasion to perform and the best players play well on these days."